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  Community Salutes Local Heroes

Oct 23, 2015 13:14 ET

Members of the DRPS and other emergency responders were honoured by members of the public on Oct. 22nd for their heroism, quick thinking and bravery.

The prestigious 13th Annual Police Appreciation Dinner and Awards Night (PADAN) was a sold out affair, as citizens in their finery sat with police officers and expressed their appreciation for a job well done. Those in attendance learned more about the incredible bravery and acts of heroism of our police officers - stories that don't always make it into the media.

Held once again at the Deer Creek banquet facility in Ajax, the Master of Ceremonies, Ken Shaw of CTV, kept the agenda moving quickly and delighted the crowd with his humour.

The theme this year was Durham Strong, reflecting the strong social fabric in our community that cares for citizens and helps protect and assist them. The theme was best represented in a video tribute to all of the services that responded to the major fire at Fairview Lodge in Whitby last October. Over 190 of our most vulnerable citizens were safely evacuated and agencies immediately banded together to provide them with food, shelter and other support services.

Special awards were presented to:

* Project Lakeland, a DRPS and YRPS project targeting an international organized car theft ring. Cars were being stolen out of people's driveways and then shipped around the world.

* Constable Phil Blandford, who arrived just in time to pull a motorist out of a burning car in Oshawa

* Sergeant Julia Whitaker, for successfully deploying her conducted energy weapon to stop a distraught man, who approached her while wielding a machete

* Detective Constable Wes King, who helped calm a four-year old child suffocating due to a zip tie around her neck. With only a few seconds to spare, the zip tie was cut off and it flung across the room due to the pressure.

Committee co-chair Moe Pringle announced that over $1.2 million has been raised over the past 13 dinners to assist with police outreach programs in the community. Proceeds have been used for a variety of projects, including an annual summer adventure experience in Algonquin Park that connects frontline officers with local kids.

One highlight of the night was a speech from 10-year-old Anthony Scott, our Police Chief for a Day, who impressed the crowd when he presented his essay about what makes Durham Strong and the important role played by the police.

Another highlight was the presentation of two new ceremonial swords for the DRPS Honour Guard, paid for by proceeds from the dinner. The new swords bear the names of the first Chief of the DRPS (Jon Jenkins) and the current Chief (Paul Martin).

The evening closed with the rare presentation of a Kevin McAlpine Lifetime Achievement Award to retired Inspector Charlie Green, who served 40 years and retired as a protocol expert in Ontario. Retired Chief McAlpine was on hand to present this award to his former colleague. It was only the fourth time in 13 years the award had been presented.

The DRPS thanks everyone who purchased a ticket and supported the annual event and thanks the community organizing committee for their hard work and support of this police service.

Below are attached files.
Cst Whitaker accepts an award for her brave actions (JPG file, 537.3K bytes)
Display at PADAN  (JPG file, 740.1K bytes)
Chief for a Day Anthony Scott with PSB Chair Roger Anderson and Chief Paul Martin (JPG file, 259.4K bytes)
MC Ken Shaw of CTV News (JPG file, 528.4K bytes)
Cst. Phil Blandford receives an award for saving a man's life (JPG file, 950.4K bytes)
DRPS Pipes and Drums Band puts on an amazing show (JPG file, 1,063.7K bytes)
Members of Project Lakefield accept their award for breaking up a car-theft ring (JPG file, 1,144.9K bytes)
D/Cst Wes King is honoured after his actions saved the life of a young girl (JPG file, 260.9K bytes)
Chief for a Day Anthony Scott reads his winning essay (JPG file, 810.2K bytes)
Ret. Insp. Charlie Green receives a Lifetime Achievement Award (JPG file, 1,111.0K bytes)
Ret. Insp. Charlie Green addresses the crowd (JPG file, 185.9K bytes)