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Published on Friday, May 19, 2017

Halton police honour citizens, officers for bravery

Tim Whitnall and Graham Paine win media awards for news coverage

Halton police honour citizens, officers for bravery
Chief's Award for Valour
Oakville Cst. Ian Weir received the Chief's Award for Valour from Chief Stephen Tanner and Police Services Board Chair Rob Burton. Last December Weir responded to a residential fire in Oakville. He rushed into the burning home and located two elderly residents and rescued the elderly male as firefighters rescued the man's wife. - Graham Paine - Burlington Post
By Tim Whitnell, Burlington Post

Citizens and police officers who risked their lives in order to try to save others were recognized by the Halton Regional Police Service at its annual awards evening — held at the Operating Engineers Banquet Hall in Oakville — last night.

Fifty-one people were honoured, including 27 current or retired Halton officers, 11 civilian members of Halton police, 11 private citizens and two media members.

Halton police chief Stephen Tanner, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, who is also chair of the Halton police services board, deputy chief Nishan Duraiappah and acting deputy chief Jeff Hill handed out the awards.

The following are synopses of the stories of some of the winners:

• • •

Const. Geoffrey Bridgeman received the chief’s Award of Valour for intervening when his partner was allegedly attacked by a man with a knife.

On June 30, 2016, Bridgeman and his partner Const. MacKinnon were called to a Burlington residence after a man called police to say his brother was out of control inside the house.

MacKinnon went to an upstairs bedroom and a man allegedly lunged at him with a knife in hand, knocking the officer backwards into a bathtub.

The pinned officer was cut on an ear and his neck by the knife.

Bridgeman pulled the man off his partner and was allegedly bitten on the arm by the assailant, who still held the knife.

The brother of the man then tackled his sibling. At that point Bridgeman used a Taser to subdue the man.

The suspect was charged with attempted murder.

• • •

Const. Ian Weir won the other chief’s Award of Valour.

He entered a home on Kingswood Drive in Oakville that was on fire.

A couple in their sixties were inside but the wife would not leave her disabled husband’s side. They were in a back bedroom.

The officer and Oakville firefighters entered the smoke-filled home and rescued the couple.

The homeowners were treated at hospital for smoke inhalation.

• • •

Mike Burnett won a chief’s citizen’s commendation for possibly saving the life of a man who tried to evade police by jumping off the Brant Street Pier in Burlington last summer.

Burnett was at Spencer Smith Park, with his family, on a Saturday afternoon in mid-June 2016 for the Sound of Music Festival when a man jumped into the water below the pier.

Officers had been responding to a report of two allegedly drunk men causing a commotion when one of the men jumped into the lake to evade police.

Even though it was June, the water was cold. Nevertheless, Burnett, seeing that the man in the water was struggling, grabbed a life ring from the pier, went into the water and brought the man ashore.

• • •

A group of citizens had a bittersweet reunion as six of them were recognized with a chief’s citizens commendation for attempting to save the lives of two young people trapped in a burning car.

On the afternoon of April 10, 2016, two teenagers were in a vehicle that lost control on James Snow Parkway in Milton and hit a light standard.

The teens became trapped and a fire began inside the car.

Passersby Michael Easton and his father Murray stopped to help. Michael checked on the driver, who was without a pulse, and quickly shifted attention to the passenger.

Murray smashed the rear window to check for backseat occupants but there weren’t any.

Others then came to help out.

Jagdeep Mair assisted in fighting the car fire.

Harminder Niijar found a knife, cut the seatbelt of the passenger and helped try to remove him from the wreckage.

Sukhwinder Sidhu, who was working nearby, ran to several parked vehicles, removed their fire extinguishers and threw them over a high fence to the rescuers, who kept the fire under control.

Jesse Watkins aided the men having difficulty freeing the passenger from the car. He also helped at the scene.

Tragically, both young men in the vehicle died.

• • •

The final chief’s citizens commendation went to three men who saved a woman who was wandering and bleeding profusely.

On the morning of Aug. 10, 2016, the men were driving through Oakville west of Neyagawa Boulevard when they noticed a woman walking outside the protective barriers of the bridge on Upper Middle Road.

Daniel Carroll, Michael Henry and Anthony Koves rushed to the woman, who was losing consciousness. They grabbed her before she possibly passed out and fell.

The men made and applied makeshift tourniquets to her deep cuts. Paramedics arrived soon after. The EMS workers told police that without the first aid provided by the men the woman would have bled to death.

• • •

Sgt. Dwayne Perron won a Chief’s Commendation for Policing Excellence for his actions in responding to an early-morning report of a woman having a mental health crisis.

In the early hours of Sept. 25, 2016, Perron went to a Burlington home and found a woman who had taken prescription drugs and alcohol and needed medical attention.

She was holding an eight-inch butcher’s knife to her throat.

The officer talked to the distraught woman for more than half an hour and eventually convinced her to put the knife down. She was taken to hospital.

• • •

Det.-Const. Colin Macleod also received a Chief’s Commendation for Policing Excellence.

On July 8, 2016 he encountered a situation very similar to Perron’s. MacLeod went to a Burlington home and found a woman with a knife threatening to kill herself.

The officer talked to the woman and convinced her to drop the knife.

• • •

Const. Mark Crichton also won a Chief’s Commendation for Policing Excellence.

On the night of Dec. 22, 2016, there was a 911 call from a relative of a woman who indicated she was going to commit suicide by jumping off the bridge at Upper Middle Road and Neyagawa Boulevard in Oakville.

The woman in distress had taken a taxi from her home to the bridge. The cab driver told police the woman tried several times to jump out of the moving vehicle.

Crichton arrived at the bridge and called to the woman, who ran and began to climb a metal bridge barrier. She was almost over the barrier when the officer grabbed her and pulled her down.

The woman was upset that he intervened and became physically and verbally abusive. Crichton held her until help arrived.

• • •

Sharon Kelly-Kola, a civilian communicator with Halton police, received an Award of Excellence in Support Services for comforting and guiding a distressed caller.

On Feb. 9, 2016, Kelly-Kola answered a 911 call from a male who said he was having chest pains and was in mental health crisis; he told her he was an emergency first responder and had been suffering from depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Kelly-Kola transferred the call to ambulance dispatch but stayed on the phone line. She took control of the call again when the ambulance line unexpectedly disconnected.

She reassured the distressed caller. The man later told police that he got through the crisis because of Kelly-Kola’s compassionate words.

• • •

An Award of Excellence in Criminal Investigation was given to a team of nine detectives — Derek Golba, Alistair Watt, Phil Campbell, Erin Elliott, Shawn Mazzuto, Wendy Moraghan, Linda Smith, Allison Theriault and Jon Williams — for a regional investigation.

The group worked on a complex case about a couple that had broken up but appeared to be on good terms.

In spring 2016, the woman drank some water from a glass and spit it out because it tasted like bleach.

Police said this was the first of several similar incidents involving food or liquids that smelled like bleach or burned her mouth.

Facewash burned her skin and some of her clothes were discoloured.

Police began an investigation that including testing of substances in the home. It was determined that hydrochloric acid was in all the items analyzed.

A team of detectives set up surveillance cameras.

The ex-husband was eventually charged with several offences, convicted and is now in prison
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

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