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  You Gotta Have Heart at the Annual Police Appreciation Night

Oct 27, 2017 11:19 ET

From pulling residents from a burning apartment building to locating a missing girl in frigid temperatures, DRPS officers are selflessly dedicated to their roles in the community.

At the 15th annual Police Appreciation Dinner and Awards Night (PADAN) last night, some of the heroic acts and brave responses in the face of the unknown were presented to the audience as awards for extraordinary police work were handed out. The packed house at Deer Creek Golf & Convention Centre in Ajax were moved, often to tears, by the stories told.

This year's theme was "You Gotta Have Heart" and it celebrated the men and women of the DRPS who give so much to this community by going beyond the call of duty every day.

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 $1.4 million has been raised over the past 15 years and the proceeds are reinvested into in educational, community safety and outreach programs involving police officers.

The awards presented to DRPS officers had an emotional impact on the assembled guests:

-Csts. Giovanni Amicone and Saina Saedi-Kendelati: While attending an unrelated call for service in Oshawa, a citizen informed the officers that there was a fire in the high-rise apartment building one street south. Both officers immediately made their way on foot to the location and discovered that heavy smoke and flames were billowing from an upper floor window. With no hesitation, both officers entered the building and made their way to the fiery unit. Three men were located in the apartment and all were slightly disoriented. Both officers removed the occupants, leading them out to safety and then immediately began evacuating the neighbouring apartments. All tenants made it out to safety and as a result of the officers' actions no injuries were sustained.

-Sgt. Rob Stoddart: A suicidal male was spotted on the roof of Lakeridge Health Oshawa. He was approximately 130 feet off of the ground with a rope around his neck that was secured to framework on the roof. Sgt. Stoddart made his way to the rooftop and approached the male in a calm and concerned manner. Then Sgt. Stoddart established a rapport with the subject, finding a common link between him and the male. At one point, the distraught man turned away from Sgt. Stoddart as they continued their dialogue. The officer feared the male had turned to jump off the roof and saw an opportunity to act. He tackled the male, handcuffed him, cut the rope away from his neck and took him to safety.

-Public Safety Unit: In December of 2016, the family of an 11-year-old Oshawa girl called police to report her missing. She didn't attend school that day and had been recently diagnosed with depression. As the evening began, her family was concerned for her safety. Responding officers immediately commenced a search in the dark and cold conditions, but were not successful. The Public Safety Unit (PSU) was called in to assist. Both on- and off-duty PSU members responded and began a methodical ground search in the heavily wooded areas near the girl's home. The cold, frightened child was located near thick brush, shivering in the dark and crying. She had stayed outside all day and was not dressed for the elements. Officers spoke calmly and softly to her and she was taken to a cruiser to warm up before paramedics arrived.

-Team Effort: A team of dozens of DRPS members, both sworn and civilian, are responsible for taking down a group of violent jewelry thieves. The Robbery Unit was aware of the group who had hit stores in York and Durham. The Unit began working with their counterparts at York Regional Police (YRP) and a team was formed to identify the culprits. The suspects robbed another jewelry store in Oshawa at gunpoint and it became violent. The Robbery Unit was immediately aware of the incident and broadcast a vehicle description from the robbery held the day before. Cst. Lloyd of East Division observed the suspect vehicle and followed strategically. Through the work of Comms/911, numerous marked vehicles, the OPP and the Tactical Support Unit officers were waiting ahead when the car entered Highway 401. They coordinated a tandem stop and the suspect vehicle attempted to evade the stop by side-swiping a police cruiser. The box held and all five suspects were arrested.

Another highlight of the night was a speech from Chief for a Day winner Aruba Kashif, a Grade 5 student at Vincent Massey Public School in Oshawa. She eloquently delivered her award-winning essay that focused on why she wanted to be a police officer. "Most of us want to become a teacher, doctor or engineer. But for me, it's a dream to become a Police Chief, because in my view it's not just a job. In fact, it's the spirit to help people and the passion to make our communities safe," said Aruba.

The DRPS would like to send a heartfelt 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 15 years to the community outreach efforts by members of the DRPS.

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Below are attached files.
You Gotta Have Heart (JPG file, 218.7K bytes)
Mini Chief Aruba and Chief Martin (JPG file, 2,107.9K bytes)
Pipes and Drums (JPG file, 1,542.7K bytes)
Ceremonial Sword (JPG file, 978.1K bytes)
Sgt Stoddart Accepts his Award (JPG file, 1,852.2K bytes)
Salute from the Chief (JPG file, 1,338.4K bytes)
Packed House (JPG file, 980.2K bytes)
Watching the Show with Heart (JPG file, 1,717.0K bytes)
Thanking their Heroes (JPG file, 1,979.2K bytes)