DRPS officers recognized at awards night

Some Durham Region’s top cops were recognized at the recent Police Appreciation and Awards night.

The 17th annual event was held Oct. 24 at Deer Creek Golf and Convention Centre in Ajax.

“This year’s theme was ‘Extending a Hand’ and it highlighted the ways in which DRPS members serve with pride, empathy and integrity every shift,” reads a media release from police.

Among those recognized:

Upside Down Underwater – Constables Andrew Massey and Matthew Roy were returning a prisoner from an out of region escort, when they heard a call for a car submerged in water south of Blackwater, with the occupants trapped inside. Their quick actions, along with other passersby, saved the lives of a family.

The Hug – Constable Sheldon Micallef locates a distraught teen who was threatening to harm himself and begins a conversation. The male suddenly runs away. A minor struggle ensues but then Cst. Micallef hugged the teen, who broke down into tears. The act of kindness was what the boy needed in that tense moment.

Knight Homicide – The discovery of the body of an adult woman in the ashes of a burned out house in Pickering shocked everyone. The DRPS Homicide Unit kicked into high gear and through tireless effort they were able to solve this case, leading to the arrest and conviction of two people in the death of Carmela Knight.

A special – and surprise – presentation of the Mike Ewles Community Builder Award was made to Detective Constable Martin Franssen for his outstanding and selfless work with the Major Crime Fraud Unit to support seniors.

“The special award, which has only been given out three times over the years, recognizes someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty by building partnerships and connections between the police service and the community it serves,” the media release reads.

“D/Cst. Franssen not only investigates fraud cases, many involving Power of Attorney situations with seniors, but he also makes dozens of presentations in the community every year. His goal is to educate the public about protecting their life savings and to charge those who prey on the most vulnerable in our community.”

Another highlight of the night was a speech from Chief for a Day winner Abrielle Sawyer-Danis, a Grade 5 student at École Élémentaire Catholique Corpus-Christi in Oshawa.

She delivered her award-winning essay that focused on inclusion and community safety.

“I want to protect our community and people that live in it. I want to give our people a voice and keep them away from danger. Everyone should feel safe and secure no matter which race, religion, gender expression, gender identity or background they are,” she said.

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 $1.5 million has been raised over the past 17 years and the proceeds are reinvested into in educational, community safety and outreach programs involving police officers,” the media release reads.

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