Victoria, BC – Thirty-six VicPD officers were honoured by Her Honour Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon in a ceremony at Government House this morning. Chief Constable Del Manak was joined by Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board member Maureen Shaw in introductory remarks as they welcomed the officers.
The awards were presented in two categories – the Police Exemplary Service Medal, followed by Chief and Deputy Chief Constables Commendations.
Police Exemplary Service Medal
The Police Exemplary Service Medal was created in 1983 to recognize the men and women dedicated to preserving Canada’s public safety through long and outstanding service. This honour is conferred by the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, and were presented today by Her Honour.
These awards are a reflection of the hard work and commitment each of these recipients has made to the department and to the communities of Victoria and Esquimalt. Recipients must have completed 20 years of exemplary police service with one or more recognized Canadian police forces.
• Staff Sergeant Mike Brown
• Staff Sergeant Mike Johnston
• Sergeant Jennifer Ames
• Sergeant Kari Cochrane
• Sergeant Byron Edwards
• Sergeant Steve Kowan
• Sergeant Lance Philip
• Sergeant Derek Tolmie
• Sergeant Michelle Robertson
• Sergeant Harvey Stevenson
• Constable Stacey Fuller
• Constable Peter Gill
• Constable Jana Hardy
• Detective Constable Richard Hardy
• Constable Deb Justice
• Constable Louise Neil
• Constable Ryan O’Neill
• Constable Eric Ooms
• Constable Martine Renaud
• Detective Constable Phil Richmond
• Cst. Janice Rennie
At 30 years of service, a bar is awarded to officers who have reached this milestone. Today, one officer was awarded the bar.
• Inspector Keith Lindner
In a first at VicPD, we also awarded a second Police Exemplary Service Bar to an officer who has served for 40 years; first with the RCMP, then the Esquimalt Police and Fire Department and then with VicPD.
• Cst. Murray Bayles
Chief Constables’ Commendation for Valour
Seven officers were also honoured with the Chief Constable’s Commendation for Valour.
- Cst. Mandip Gill
- Cst. Robert Horne
- Cst. Ian Hynes
- Cst. Todd Mason
- Det. Cst. Justin Munro
- Cst. Paul Hyckaway
- Cst. Craig Barker
These officers were honoured for their roles in attempting to rescue victims of a fire.
In the early afternoon of January 3rd, 2014 Victoria Police Constables Craig Barker, Mandip Gill, Robert Horne, Paul Hyckaway, Ian Hynes, Todd Mason, and Justin Munro responded to the report of a fully engulfed house fire in the 2500 block of Empire Street. While the officers responded to the scene, they received further information that there were people possibly trapped inside the residence. As the Acting Sergeant at the time, Cst. Hynes quickly debriefed one of the residents of the home who reported that his uncle and the downstairs tenant may still be inside the house.
Despite the fact that the upper floor of the two-level structure was engulfed in flames, and without the aid of protective equipment, Cst. Barker and Cst. Hyckaway made their way around to the back of the house. Moving directly below the fully engulfed rear deck, they entered the only doorway into the basement suite. At the same time, Cst. Gill, Cst. Horne, Cst. Hynes, Cst. Mason, and Cst. Munro entered the main floor of the residence through the front entrance. All seven officers pressed forward into the residence in search of victims, despite being significantly hindered by the thick toxic smoke, extreme heat, and flames.
Despite their attempts to locate the victims, and despite searching as much of the residence as possible, the officers were driven back by the zero visibility, intense heat, and inability to breath. After searching as much of the residence as possible, and after exposing themselves to the extreme risk of death or serious injury, the officers subsequently located both victims, who turned out not to be inside the house.
The bravery and dedication to duty demonstrated by these officers was remarkable. Their actions are a reflection of their professionalism and integrity and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Victoria Police Department.
Deputy Chief Constables’ Commendations
An additional six officers were honoured with Deputy Chief Constable’s Commendations for their actions in three different incidents.
Cst. Cody Lapierre was honoured for his actions on the evening of July 26th, 2016. While off-duty Victoria Police Constable Cody Lapierre was travelling on his motorcycle in the area of Government Street and Gorge Road East when he observed a male operating a Sport Utility Vehicle intentionally drive into the back of a motorcyclist that was stopped for a red light. Upon being stuck by the SUV, the motorcyclist became temporarily pinned under his bike until he was finally able to free himself, just in time to avoid being run over by the truck. In a drug induced violent act of road-rage, the driver of the SUV then attempted to drive up and over the motorcycle before fleeing the area south on Government Street.
Despite being off-duty at the time, and having no protective equipment or assistance, Cst. Lapierre knew that the suspect needed to be stopped before another innocent person became the target of his road-rage. While witnesses called 911, Cst. Lapierre followed the suspect as he drove through the city streets and into a family oriented residential complex. Cst. Lapierre then watched as the suspect rammed a metal traffic control barrier and then stalled his vehicle after ramming a second barrier. Seizing the opportunity, Cst. Lapierre dismounted his motorcycle, grabbed the suspect through his open window, and then pulled him from the driver’s seat of the SUV. With the assistance of a by-stander, Cst. Lapierre was able to restrain the suspect until on-duty patrol resources arrived on scene and arrested the male.
The brave initiative and split second decisions of Cst. Lapierre were remarkable. His actions are a reflection of his professionalism and integrity and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Victoria Police Department.
Sgt. Darrell Fairburn, Cst. Gord McGee and Cst. Ari Knazan were honoured for their actions in an incident which started in the late morning of August 6th, 2015. On that morning, Victoria Police Sergeant Darrell Fairburn and Constables Gord Magee and Ari Knazan were the initial responding officers to the Salvation Army Community Correctional Facility in relation to a male who was despondent and suicidal, and who had constructed an improvised explosive device. The existence of the explosive device was confirmed by a staff member who had seen it first-hand. The staff member was also able to confirm that the suspect wanted to kill himself, and that he had instructed them to evacuate the building so that no other people would get hurt.
When they first arrived, the initial responding officers found the scene to be confusing and chaotic. Due to the obvious danger to the occupants of the building, and despite the danger to themselves, the three officers immediately began bringing order to the scene. The officers orchestrated the safe evacuation of many of the building residents, while at the same time attempted to communicate with the suspect. In addition, the officers attempted to gather as much intelligence on the suspect and explosive device as possible, while trying to begin the initial negotiations with the distraught male.
The vital intelligence obtained by Sgt. Fairburn, Cst. Magee and Cst. Knazan, as well as the evacuation efforts and initial communication with the suspect, were instrumental in bringing about a successful resolution to this incident. After several hours of negotiations, and after a full Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team activation, the male suspect was eventually apprehended after he surrendered to police.
The brave initiative and split second decisions of Sgt. Fairburn, Cst. Magee and Cst. Knazan were remarkable. Their actions are a reflection of their professionalism and integrity and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Victoria Police Department.
The final award of the morning honoured Cst. Casey Jones and Cst. Aaron Mitic who on the morning of April 30th, 2016, responded to a report of a drug induced male who was wondering around the Dallas Road and San Jose Road area bleeding profusely from a large wound to his arm. Upon arriving into the area, the officers observed a significant number of people, including children, in the vicinity. The injured male was quickly located when the two attending paramedics pointed him out to Cst. Jones and Cst. Mitic.
In an effort to protect the public from the unpredictable male, who appeared to be suffering from a serious mental health crisis, the officers positioned their vehicle to block traffic. Through the injured males incoherent screaming the officers attempted to give him clear direction, so that they could provide him with the immediate medical help he needed. Despite their attempts to stop the male, he continued to scream while making an obvious attempt to get away from Cst. Jones and Cst. Mitic. While using Crisis Intervention and De-escalation techniques, the officers observed that the male had an uncapped hypodermic needle in his hand. As well, the male was quickly making his way towards a couple and their young children.
Knowing they had little time to act and having no time to put on protective equipment, Cst. Jones and Cst. Mitic were finally able to get the male to drop the needle as they moved in to apprehend him. Using as little force as possible, and despite the male’s attempt to resist, the officers were able to apprehend the male and secure him so that the waiting paramedics could render the much needed medical treatment. Despite the possibility that the male could still be armed and despite the fact that he could have a communicable disease, Cst. Jones and Cst. Mitic did not hesitate to provide assistance to the male. In so doing, they became significantly contaminated by the male’s profuse bleeding. In the end, because of the actions of Cst. Jones and Cst. Mitic, the male was able to get the physical and mental health treatment he desperately needed.
The brave initiative and split second decisions of Cst. Jones and Cst. Mitic were remarkable. Their actions are a reflection of their professionalism and integrity and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Victoria Police Department.
The Deputy Chief Constable’s Commendations were awarded by Deputy Chief Constable Colin Watson.