PAO Recognizes Officers in Second Annual Police Services Hero of the Year Award


The Police Services Hero of the Year Award recognizes officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty

LONDON, ON, May 17, 2017 /CNW/ - The Police Association of Ontario has selected two winners and recognized four other officers for their exemplary service and commitment to policing through its second annual Police Services Hero of the Year award. The annual award is given to members of the Police Association of Ontario who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and best exemplify the qualities of policing professionals in Ontario.

"This year, more than 300 police services professionals across Ontario were nominated for the Police Services Hero of the Year Award," said PAO President, Bruce Chapman. "While we've only recognized the top six, the amount of nominations we received speaks to the brave acts that our members perform daily to serve and protect Ontario's communities."

The award recognizes police services personnel in two categories: members who go above and beyond the call of duty on the job, and members who distinguish themselves through work in their communities. This year's winners are: 

Four other policing professionals were also recognized for their service at the award ceremony:

"Our members perform heroic and exemplary acts almost every day, most of which go unrecognized," said Chapman. "But our members don't put their lives on the line every day for recognition – they do it because they feel a duty to uphold the public's safety. Like our On Duty Difference Maker winner Det. Constable Ryan Johnson put it, '[he] was just doing his job'".

The Police Services Hero of the Year award recipients are nominated by the general public and selected by the PAO Awards Committee prior to the PAO Annual General Meeting from a pool of eligible nominees.

Backgrounder: Police Services Hero of the Year Award Recipients

On Wednesday, May 17 the Police Association of Ontario (PAO) hosted its second annual Police Services Hero of the Year Awards that recognizes police service heroes who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. This year the PAO selected two winners and recognized four other officers for their exemplary service and commitment to policing. These are the nominations and stories of this year's recipients:


On Duty Difference Maker
Det. Constable Ryan Johnson, Greater Sudbury Police

In February 2016, Detective Constable Ryan Johnson came upon a distraught individual sitting on the ledge of the Bridge of Nations in Sudbury contemplating suicide.

Detective Constable Johnson, showing the utmost empathy and compassion, spoke with the individual, calming them down and establishing rapport.

When the opportunity presented itself, Detective Constable Johnson sprung into action and grabbed the individual off the ledge, risking his own life to save this stranger. This is the precise definition of a hero. Equally impressive was the humility with which Detective Constable Johnson responded to media requests over the following days.

Community Role Model
Constable Cealia Gagnon, Windsor Police Service

Windsor Police Service's Constable Cealia Gagnon often goes above and beyond the call of duty. Constable Gagnon frequently volunteers with multiple organizations within her community. Despite her already busy schedule, Constable Gagnon still manages to never miss a beat.

For her nominator, it was Constable Gagnon's advice and life lessons that allowed them to personally grow and become more involved in their community.  Constable Gagnon's impact was such that she became her nominator's inspiration and role model over the course of just two short years.


On Duty Difference Maker
Constable Christopher Anderson, Port Hope Police Service

On January 8th 2017, Constable Anderson came upon an individual inside their vehicle at the intersection of Hope Street South and Peter Street who appeared distressed. Constable Anderson was able to determine through excellent observation skills that this individual was in distress.

Through Constable Anderson's investigation and strong deductive reasoning ability, he determined that this individual was suffering from a life threatening anaphylactic shock. Constable Anderson reassured the individual and contacted EMS. As the individual's condition worsened, Constable Anderson made a quick-thinking decision which proved critical to the individual's survival. Knowing that other officers would not be able help the individual recover and that the Northumberland Paramedics were too far away, Constable Anderson thought outside the box and asked an officer to head to the Centre for Addiction on Dorset Street for an EpiPen.

The EpiPen was located by an officer and administered by Constable Anderson, after which the individual's condition began to improve and Northumberland Paramedics took them to the hospital to be assessed. Constable Anderson's exemplary performance likely saved this individual's life. Most impressive was the poise and maturity that Constable Anderson displayed during the incident, far exceeding his one year of policing experience.

Sergeant Pat KellarBelleville Police Service

While training can provide the tools for police work, remarkable character is required to be able to break through to someone who feels shamed and abandoned.

Sergeant Kellar's nominator was a childhood abuse survivor on the brink of suicide. It was Sergeant Kellar's ability to instantly gain their trust and his commitment to work doggedly in the pursuit of justice for his nominator that ultimately helped save their life.

Sergeant Kellar made his nominator feel protected. He was always available to speak and coordinated his nominator's contact with the Victim Witness Protection Staff.  His nominator credits Sergeant Kellar as being the first person who took the time to listen to them and not cast doubt upon their claims.

It was commitment that made Sergeant Kellar's nominator feel safe and protected against the perpetrator. While it has and continues to be a struggle to move past their history of abuse, Sergeant Kellar's nominator is now recovering with the help of counselling and claims that not a day goes by without continuing to feel protected by someone who didn't have to say a word.

Even in their darkest moments, Sergeant Kellar's nominator continues to draw strength from his commitment and decency. 

Community Role Model
Constable Todd BennettBelleville Police Service

A year ago, Constable Todd Bennett's nominator was walking with their four year old daughter, who loves recognizing emergency vehicles and waving to them on their walks. Unfortunately, many of the drivers wouldn't wave back as they drove past, which discouraged her – that is, except for Constable Bennett.

While walking home one day, the nominator's daughter waved at a passing cruiser and this time, it was Constable Bennett, who gave a big wave back. The nominator's daughter was over-the-moon happy! Constable Bennett reversed and called them over to his vehicle, and told the nominator's daughter how nice it was of her to wave to the police and that he appreciated it more then she could possibly know. Constable Bennett offered her a small teddy bear named Finn that has since become a constant companion.

To his nominator, Constable Bennett's small gesture of kindness while on duty is a reminder that the world is still full of love, compassion, and caring. Constable Bennett has left a lasting impression on his nominator's daughter that she has since shared with many others. Thank you Constable Bennett for going beyond the call of duty and displaying kindness and decency in all that you do!

Constable Amy Finn – Chatham- Kent Police Service

Constable Amy Finn's nominator still can't believe how this amazing officer and single mother works tirelessly while taking care of her four boys.

Constable Amy Finn is always cheerful and kind to everyone she meets. She can always be found helping the community with toy drives, food banks or raising money for cancer research.

Irrespective of their backgrounds, Constable Amy Finn always shows people respect, honouring the service, and protecting her community. For her nominator, it's an honour to call Constable Amy Finn both a friend and mentor.

About the Police Association of Ontario
The Police Association of Ontario (PAO) is the official voice and representative body for Ontario's front-line police personnel, and provides representation, resource and support for 53 police associations. PAO's membership is comprised of over 18,000 police and civilian members.

Facebook: Facebook/Police Association of Ontario
Twitter: @PoliceAssocON
Instagram: PoliceAssociationOntario

SOURCE Police Association of Ontario

For further information: Bruce Chapman, PAO President,, 905-599-4813; Stephen Reid, PAO Executive Director,, 416-435-4455


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