55th Annual Police Excellence Awards

picture of four of the winners of the Police Excellence Awards

 

Police Officers of the Year Award

Sergeant Brian James

Constable Nicolas Ditlof

Constable Deanna Jovanovich

Constable Kwabena Saffu

Constable Ramandeep Singh

In June 2020, 23 division officers responded to a call for a person in crisis.

Officers found a man dangling his six-year-old son by the legs from a three-storey window, threatening to drop the boy who was crying hysterically. The boy’s grandmother had tried to intervene, but was punched and choked by the man, who was her son. The boy managed to pull away from his father, and hold onto an adjacent window ledge.

The officers entered the townhome knowing that firefighters had already assembled a safety tarp to catch the child if he was dropped.

As the officers entered the room the man jumped from the window falling onto a driveway as his son dangled. The officers ran to the window, and were able to grab the boy’s arms and bring him to safety.

The man was taken into custody with the help of several responding officers as he remained violent despite his fall. He was transported to a hospital for psychiatric treatment, and was subsequently charged for the incident.

Officers remained with the child to ensure that he was safe, healthy and able to cope with the trauma. The young boy repeatedly said to the officers that he thought his dad was going to “kill him and his grandmother.’’ The officers were able to console the boy and his grandmother, contacting outside social service agencies to provide ongoing support to the family.

Since the incident, officers have also taken it upon themselves to visit with the child and his family as they were greatly impacted by the call. Indeed, several of the officers have young children, similar in age to the boy involved in the incident.

The officers should be commended for following their training to ensure the boy was safe, connecting the family the help it needed and for their genuine compassion in continuing to engage with the family.

Sergeant Brian James and Constables Ramandeep Singh, Kwabena Saffu, Deanna Jovanovich, and Nicholas Ditlof worked as a cohesive, effective and compassionate team, and through their extraordinary actions, were able to make a volatile situation safe, and bring comfort to the victims.

 

Police Officer Excellence Awards

Constable Daniel Kooy

In November 2021, Constable Daniel Kooy, along with firefighters and paramedics, were called to an unknown trouble call where they found a man who had used a rope to hang himself over a railway overpass.

Constable Kooy and two firefighters were the first to arrive on scene. Knowing that they had to act fast, all three climbed over guardrails 30 feet above the ground, without railings or safety equipment.

They quickly reached the man and pulled him to safety, removing the ligature from his neck.

The firefighters worked to save the man’s life. Constable Kooy took bolt cutters from the firefighters to cut a lock to allow paramedics access to the area. They worked quickly to revive the man, who was taken to hospital for treatment.

Without hesitation the first responders showed complete selflessness and incredible bravery, putting themselves in a precarious position to rescue the man.

If there was any hesitation or delay in getting to the victim, the results would have likely been fatal.

The actions of Constable Daniel Kooy and emergency services partners exhibited the best in teamwork, professionalism and courage that resulted in saving a man’s life.

 

Sergeant Duane St. Jean

Detective Constable Satbir Kullar

Detective Constable Micheal Phaneuf

Detective Constable Deanna Jovanovich

In February 2021, Sergeant Duane St. Jean and Detective Constables Satbir Kullar, Micheal Phaneuf and Deanna Jovanovich began a search for a 56-year-old man who was missing. As the officers conducted their search, they came across a locked room within a rooming house. The officers called the landlord to open the locked door.

As they waited in the hallway, the door swung open, and a man wearing sunglasses and holding a large knife, lunged at Constable Phaneuf. The man struck the officer in the left shoulder with the knife, causing a 10-cm deep wound. A few inches to the right and the knife could have caused a life-threatening injury.

The incident took place in a tight hallway, leaving officers with no space to create any distance from the man and they were hesitant to use a firearm as other people in the rooming house could have been struck through the thin walls.

Detective Constable Phaneuf used his training, and acted decisively and quickly, moving away from the man. Sergeant St. Jean immediately grabbed the man’s hands. However, the man stabbed him in the chest, striking his body armour, upper arms, and forehead.

Detective Constable Kullar drew his service firearm, and Detective Constable Phaneuf used his Conducted Energy Weapon, resulting in the man falling to the ground, still clutching his knife. The officers wrestled with the man, and were eventually able to remove the knife. The man was handcuffed, as he continued to fight off the officers.

Sergeant Duane St. Jean, Detective Constables Satbir Kullar, Micheal Phaneuf, and Deanna Jovanovich are all commended for their bravery and swift actions to effect the arrest without further injury to either officers or the suspect. The officers risked their lives to stop this unprovoked and dangerous attack without resorting to deadly force.

 

Detective Constable Zac Firth

In March 2021, Detective Constable Zac Firth received intelligence from an undercover officer from Minnesota, who had been engaged in a child exploitation investigation.

A suspect had asked the undercover officer, who had infiltrated a chat group if he knew anyone with access to children. The U.S. undercover officer advised that he knew a person in the Toronto area that had two children (ages 10 and 12) that were available for ‘pay for play.’ The suspect gave the undercover officer his email address, and advised that he would like to connect with this person and his children as he lives in the Greater Toronto Area. That information was forwarded to the Toronto Police Service Child Exploitation Section of Sex Crimes, where Constable Zac Firth began his online investigation.

Detective Constable Firth made contact with the man by email and over the next two weeks, gained his trust. The man described, in detail, the sexual acts he intended to commit with respect to the fictitious daughters that the officer had led him to believe were real.

Arrangements were made for the man to meet at a hotel with cash for the hotel room, gifts for the children as well as condoms.

The man attended the hotel, where he was arrested by the Child Exploitation investigators. He was in possession of condoms, a Viagra pill and the specific amount of money that was arranged by the officer.

His vehicle was seized and search warrants were written and granted for the vehicle as well as his home address. As a result, a large quantity of electronic devices were seized, as well as gifts that were specifically purchased for the children, which were located in the vehicle. Detective Constable Firth also obtained a video statement from the man, where he admitted to his sexual interest in children.

Detective Constable Zac Firth is recognized for his hard work, diligence and strong work ethic within the Child Exploitation Section, and more specifically, with respect to this investigation. His dedication, perseverance and excellent investigative skills resulted in a significant arrest of an individual whose intended actions would have resulted in harming children.

 

Detective Constable Edward O’Toole

Detective Constable Chad Pullen

Detective Constable Matthew Saris

On March 26, 2021, two masked people, both armed with knives, entered a bank and immediately approached a teller, demanding money. Plainclothes officers from 22 Division, Detective Constables Edward O’Toole and Matthew Saris, were the first to arrive on scene, as they were in the area conducting follow-up investigation regarding the ongoing robberies.

As the officers approached the bank, they could see one of the suspects keeping watch at the entrance, while the other was behind the counter, holding a knife to a teller’s head, threatening her life. Recognizing the threat to the teller’s life, the officers quickly entered the bank to disrupt the robbery.

One of the suspects fled the bank on foot, and was chased by Constable O’Toole across Lake Shore Boulevard. Constable Chad Pullen arrived to take over the foot pursuit arresting the man a short distance later, as Constable O’Toole returned to assist at the bank. The man inside the bank refused to surrender to police, and, in an attempt to flee, stabbed Constable Saris in the chest. Constable O’Toole arrived to handcuff and arrest the man, and administered lifesaving First Aid to his partner, as he radioed for help.

Afterwards, a search warrant was executed at the home of one of the accused, which yielded clothing that further linked him to the series of robberies that had taken place over the span of two months.

As a result of the teamwork, mindset, and quick response of Constable Edward O’Toole, Constable Matthew Saris and Constable Chad Pullen, two very violent offenders were identified and taken into custody and critical evidence obtained.

These officers should be commended for their heroism, bravery and valour during this incident. Their exceptional courage and teamwork displayed great initiative and attention to duty, while they defused the situation, and protected the bank employees, customers and suspects, without serious injuries or loss of life.

  

Detective Constable Aaron Broad

Detective Constable Danny Pitre

Detective Constable Rudy Kramer

In November 2018, at 11 p.m., members of the 31 Division Major Crime Unit and the West Command Gun Violence Suppression Unit arrived at a building intending to execute a search warrant of an apartment and car.

They saw the suspect seated alone inside the car they intended to search in the front circular driveway of the apartment complex. Detective Constables Aaron Broad, Danny Pitre and Rudy Kramer ma-neuvered their unmarked vehicles to box the man in the driveway for everyone’s safety. As the officers exited their vehicles simultaneously, the suspect then took out a firearm, and shot at the officers.

Detective Constable Broad was armed with a C8 rifle and gave police commands to the man. Regardless, he and the other officers were shot at by the man as he attempted to exit the vehicle while still shoot-ing at he officers, who were now close to his vehicle.

Detective Constable Broad, heroically and with stoicism stood his ground, effectively engaging the threat while tactically retreating into a position of cover and concealment. Detective Constables Pitre and Kramer were able to gain positions of tactical superiority over the suspect.

Even after being struck numerous times by the officers’ returning gun-fire, the man still managed to flee from his vehicle. He was arrested after a brief foot pursuit. He suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Detective Constable Aaron Broad, Danny Pitre, and Rudy Kramer exhibited teamwork of the highest level. They did what they were trained to do under the most pressurized of situations. These officers should be lauded and heralded for their swift actions and bravery.

 

Sergeant Josh McSweeney

Constable Kevin Stevenson

Constable Jan-Michael Kruczek

In December 2020, officers from 12 Division were called to a residential area for a man seen brandishing a spear-shaped stick and a knife.

Constables Jan-Michael Kruczek and Kevin Stevenson located the man and directed him to drop the weapons. The man did not comply and continued to walk toward a crowded plaza.

Sergeant Josh McSweeney arrived, and again engaged with the man, who then became more aggressive. He lunged toward Constable Stevenson, and threw a stick at him. A Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) was deployed to subdue the man; however it was unable to penetrate the two thick parkas the man was wearing. The man then charged at Constable Stevenson, slashing at him with the knife. Sergeant McSweeney again deployed a CEW, to no effect.

All three officers were mindful of their surroundings, and the growing crowd of people. The altercation spilled into live lanes of traffic on Keele Street as the man chased Constable Stevenson around vehicles, slashing at him with the knife, and ultimately wounding his left forearm. All three officers considered the option of using lethal force, but ruled it out due to the danger to the surrounding public.

The incident escalated as all three officers grabbed onto the man who stabbed Sergeant McSweeney in the upper left arm as they fought to put him into custody.

Constable Stevenson and Sergeant McSweeney were treated in hospital and received staples and stitches.

The man was not injured, and revealed it was his intention to commit suicide by police. He was dressed in a way that rendered the use of the CEW ineffective.

Constable Kevin Stevenson, Constable Jan-Michael Kruczek, and Sergeant Josh McSweeney made the decision to take on considerable personal risk during an extremely dangerous situation to end the altercation with the least amount of force they could possibly use, always mindful of the safety not only of the armed man, but of the public in the vicinity.

 

Sergeant Timothy Whittle

Constable Jean Bresse

Constable Corey Dunk

Constable Matthew Palma

Constable Michael Sanguinetti

In July 2020, officers from 42 Division responded to a call involving a man in crisis after family members called an ambulance.

The man in crisis immediately confronted Constable Corey Dunk, as he was the first to arrive at the scene. Without warning the man slashed Constable Dunk’s head with an exacto knife, creating a wound that bled profusely as Constable Dunk calmly called for more assistance over the radio.

Sergeant Timothy Whittle and Constables Mathew Palma, Michael Sanguinetti, and Jean Bresse arrived at the standoff between the armed man and Constable Dunk.

The man remained confrontational and aggressive with officers, and failed to follow the officers’ commands to drop the knife. Two Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) deployments were utilized followed by multiple Less Lethal Shotgun rounds. All were ineffective to control him and he retained the exacto knife in his grip.

As these less lethal options had failed and the man continued to confront the officers, Constable Sanguinetti utilized verbal deescalation techniques and was able to maintain the man’s attention. Due to his patience and perseverance, the officer convinced the man to release the exacto knife and the other officers were able to gain control and arrest him without further injury to anyone.

Utilizing their training, Constable Corey Dunk, Constable Matthew Palma, Constable Michael Sanguinetti, Constable Jean Bresse and Sergeant Timothy Whittle were able to safely and effectively de-escalate the situation and convince the man in crisis to relinquish his weapon without the need for further force.

 

Detective Constable Marek Mostowski

Detective Constable Marland Thompson

Just after midnight on March 1, 2020, Hold Up investigators requested members of the 22 Division Major Crime Unit (MCU) to assist in an ongoing investigation into a series of armed robberies.

Detective Constables Marland Thompson and Marek Mostowoski took a position near a stolen car associated with the robbery suspects in hopes that they might return.

Shortly after arriving in the area, the officers observed two men entering a convenience store wearing masks and exhibiting signs that indicated they were planning to rob the store.

The two men then confronted the employee inside, pointing their guns at the employee and walked behind the counter, demanding cash and tobacco products.

The officers entered the store with their firearms drawn, while both suspects were distracted, surprising the suspects, who complied with the commands to drop their weapons.

Both men were arrested with the help of additional 22 MCU officers and 23 Division officers who also recovered the security video of the entire takedown. It was later discovered that the weapons used were pellet guns.

Hold Up investigators charged the men for the robbery; however, it was later determined that they were not part of the larger robbery spree.

Detective Constables Marland Thompson and Marek Mostowoski showed incredible courage in entering the store as two armed suspects were robbing it at gunpoint. The officers intervened and apprehended the suspects without injury to anyone at the scene. They displayed great courage and professionalism in resolving what could have been a very dangerous situation, swifty and bravely.

 

Constable Ivan Yeung

On November 18, 2020, Constable Ivan Yeung was dispatched to a “baby not breathing” radio call at University Avenue and Richmond Street West.

He was on scene within a minute and scanned the large intersection, spotting a man leaning over an infant lying on a jacket on the sidewalk. He approached to find a still four-month-old boy who was blue in the face with clenched fists.

Constable Yeung immediately took charge of the situation relieving the man who had been trying to assist. Relying on his training, Constable Yeung began administering infant chest compressions using two fingers while updating the dispatcher and other units.

After approximately 45 seconds of chest compressions, the infant began to gasp for air every five to six seconds. Constable Yeung continued to provide chest compressions until the infant began to cry, a welcome sign that the infant was breathing. Toronto firefighters arrived and took over, providing additional medical attention to the infant.

The infant was then transported to Sick Children’s Hospital via emergency run while other officers closed intersections and controlled traffic. The infant arrived at hospital and received critical care from medical staff. It was later learned that the infant’s condition was most likely attributable to a recent cardiac procedure to correct a congenital heart defect, and an update was provided that he was improving and doing well.

Constable Ivan Yeung was a newer police officer whose actions on this date were in the finest traditions of emergency response. He rendered immediate life saving care to one of the most vulnerable members of our society. His ability to quickly assess, locate and then intervene in a chaotic and dynamic situation speaks volumes about his personal character and his dedication to duty.

 

Civilian Excellence Award

Court Officer Harrison Marshall

Court Officer Paul Hawke

On an early morning in November 2020, Court Officers Harrison Marshall and Paul Hawke were performing their duties as Prisoner Transportation Officers.

While driving in Liberty Village, they observed a male in the middle of a roadway, in the pouring rain. They approached him, and found him to be unresponsive, with shallow breathing and his eyes rolled back. Utilizing their First Aid training, they immediately recognized the signs of a possible opioid overdose.

Court Officer Marshall activated the priority button on his radio to request immediate assistance. In a calm and clear voice, he directed emergency responders to his location and outlined his required needs.

He administered a single dose of Naloxone. The medication appeared to assist the male, but only briefly, so two minutes later, a second dose was administered, and the drugs had the desired effect, reviving him. The officers moved the male off the roadway and continued, in a calm and controlled voice and tone, to reassure the male that everything was going to be all right. Once paramedics attended, the male was transported to hospital, where he was treated and later released.

Without the quick thinking and actions of Court Officers Harrison Marshall and Paul Hawke, it is possible that this male could have lost his life that day. They are commended for their professionalism, swift response and dedication to duty.

 

Business Excellence Award

Mark Jones, Analytics and Innovation

Scott Mackey, Analytics and Innovation

Katherine Ziebarth, Analytics and Innovation

Detective Constable Jason Reynolds, Sex Crimes

In April 2020 the Ontario government announced funding in the amount of approximately $90,000 to support the development of an online guide for survivors of human trafficking and their families.

The grant funded the development of a website that would provide relevant material that was survivor-led and that would attract people seeking assistance and support to escape human trafficking. This funding was awarded to the Toronto Police Service and the development team was given one year to roll out the website/guide.

The team faced strict timelines, and even with the additional COVID restrictions in place, were, nevertheless able to overcome obstacles with great speed, efficiency and professionalism.

The final product was highly praised by subject matter experts in the field of human trafficking, which included non-government organizations, ministry personnel, police experts and survivors themselves.

Some support workers, survivors of human trafficking themselves, made the comment “I wish I had this when I was being trafficked.” That is a true testament to the impact the site can have on to people in need.

The site is also internationally recognized. The Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe described it as insightful in the understanding of trauma bond. Organizations around the country have also used the site as a starting point for training and even members of the United Nations have shared their praise on the content and delivery.

Mark Jones, Scott Mackey and Katherine Ziebarth and Detective Constable Jason Reynolds are recognized for their incredible hard work, dedication and commitment to this project dealing with a complex issue of extraordinary importance in law enforcement. 

 

May 25, 2022

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