Members of the Durham Regional Police Service -- both sworn and civilian -- were singled out Oct. 17 by the community for their heroism, quick thinking and bravery.
The 11th Annual Police Appreciation Dinner and Awards Night (PADAN) took place at Deer Creek Golf & Convention Centre in Ajax on Oct. 17 to a packed house. For the 11th straight time, this gala event was sold-out.
The theme this year was “Nothing Beyond Our Reach” as multiple examples of local, national and even international investigations were celebrated. Statistics Canada has named the DRPS #1 in Canada for our ability to solve the more serious crimes.
The Co-chairs of the community organizing committee, Moe Pringle and Blair McArthur, thanked every member of the police service for making a difference in the community. They also thanked all of the corporate sponsors who have made the event possible. More than $900,000 has been raised over the past 11 years and the proceeds are reinvested into policing programs or community outreach programs involving police officers.
This year, awards were presented to:
• Constable Terry Rayner of Central West Division, for community involvement. From volunteering at events to running a sports program that helps local kids, he always puts other people first. He ran a lacrosse program through PADAN funding that enabled 150 local kids to attend a Toronto Rock game. He secured donations for numerous iPods to be purchased for school libraries to give local kids more educational resources. In 2010, Terry began a golf tournament with the support of Tim Hortons franchisee Wendy Brown and has now raised more than $115,000 for the Ontario Police Memorial Foundation.
• Constable David Wright, first on scene at a horrific car crash in November of 2012 on Colonel Sam Drive in Oshawa. A vehicle was wrapped around a tree and the engine was on fire. He was able to pry the driver’s door open, cut the driver loose and drag him to safety, despite the flames, smoke and explosions. He was assisted by several citizens, who also stopped to help. He went back for the passenger, ignoring the danger, but was unable to free him.
• Civilian 911 Operators Rebecca Astles, Megan Tilley, Andrea McDowell and Janice Goodwin, who helped free a woman who was essentially being held hostage in her own home. Despite very little information provided over whispers on a cell phone, these four valuable employees refused to give up and eventually found the home, directed ground units to the location, and freed the woman and her children.
• Constables Chris Giasson, Ryan Mintz, Darryl Rice, Gerry Suthers and Tracey Weightman, who put their lives on the line to stop a dangerous driver in a stolen vehicle. They made split second decisions, including using their own police vehicles as blockers, that saved many innocent people, including children and a crossing guard in Oshawa.
• Detective Constables Paul Couvillon, Keith Lindley and Edward Downey, who braved icy conditions to save a Clarington man who had climbed up his TV antennae to hang himself. Swinging 16 metres above the ground , Couvillon and Lindley managed to bring the man down, only to scuffle with him on the rooftop. By working together, all three officers were able to save this man.
• Inspector Bruce Townley, Staff Sergeant Cathy Bawden, Detective Derek Wohlert, Detective Constables Scott Dennis and Murray Rose, Constables Phil Groenveld and Crime Analyst Lori Morrison for Project Mansfield. What started as two separate investigations into distraction thefts turned into an international affair, leading to the arrests of 34 suspects, the laying of over 260 charges and the identification of 400 other associated with this ring. Our investigations turned heads from the top security agencies in the U.S. and was recognized in the House of Commons.
One highlight of the night was a speech from 10-year-old Mackenzie Jessup, a Grade 5 student at Meadowcrest Public School in north Whitby. She delivered her award-winning essay with confidence and humour, much to the delight of the audience. By being named Chief for a Day on Oct. 15th, she got to wear a custom-made Chief of Police uniform and tour actual police stations.
The master of ceremonies for the event – CTV’s Pat Foran – knew exactly what Mackenzie was going through. Pat’s daughter Vanessa actually won the essay contest in 2005, when she was a Grade 5 student.
Another special moment came when Regional Chair Roger Anderson and Committee Co-Chair Moe Pringle singled out Chief Mike Ewles for his outstanding leadership and accomplishments in his seven-year term as Chief Constable. As the Chief recently announced he will retire in May 2014, this was his last PADAN event as Chief.
A big thank you to the Police Appreciation Dinner and Awards Night committee for recognizing our members and for the contributions they have made over the past decade to the Durham Regional Police.
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Mini Chief Mackenzie Jessup delivers her speech (JPG file, 81.8K bytes)
Cst. Dave Wright accepts his award (JPG file, 99.5K bytes)
Communicators accept their awards (JPG file, 92.6K bytes)
The team that stopped a stolen vehicle on a rampage (JPG file, 86.7K bytes)
TSU officers who saved a suicidal male (JPG file, 94.1K bytes)
Cst. Terry Raynor accepts his community service award (JPG file, 86.3K bytes)
Project Mansfiled team (JPG file, 88.1K bytes)
DRPS display (JPG file, 91.4K bytes)
Air1 Lands (JPG file, 92.4K bytes)