Date: May 1, 2015
His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada awarded VicPD Constable Mark Jenkins the Medal of Bravery at a Rideau Hall ceremony this morning.
Created in 1972, Decorations for Bravery recognize people who risked their lives to try to save or protect the lives of others. The Cross of Valour (C.V.) recognizes acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril; the Star of Courage (S.C.) recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril; and the Medal of Bravery (M.B.) recognizes acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances. – Rideau Hall
Cst. Jenkins was recognized for his actions when at great personal peril, he pulled a suicidal, drowning man, from the waters of the Inner Harbour.
On the afternoon of July 17th, 2012, the Victoria Police Department received a 911 call from a citizen reporting that a man had just jumped off the Johnson Street Bridge. The caller advised the VicPD Communications Specialist that the person was still alive and that he was drifting in the middle of the active boating channel. Patrol officers were immediately dispatched to the scene in an effort to save the suicidal man. As well, members of the VicPD Marine Response Unit were deployed to assist in the rescue.
Despite the initial reports that the man did not appear to be having difficulty staying afloat, his condition began to change as patrol officers worked at directing him towards the shoreline. Despite his efforts to keep his head above the water, it became clear that he was unable to make it to the shore and that he was now in danger of slipping below the surface of the water. Without hesitation, Cst. Mark Jenkins stripped off his ballistic vest, utility belt, and boots and dove into the water. Knowing the risks associated with trying to save a suicidal person who was struggling to stay afloat in the deep and frigid water, Cst. Jenkins swam to him and began pulling him to the shore. Despite an exhaustive struggle, Cst. Jenkins successfully pulled the man to the shoreline.
Once at the water’s edge, the man was turned over to members of the B.C. Ambulance Service where he was treated for exposure. He was then taken to the hospital for psychiatric treatment. Cst. Jenkins actions were the subject of a front-page story in the TimesColonist newspaper.
Cst. Jenkins was also awarded the Deputy Chief’s Commendation for his actions.