Backgrounder - The Ontario Medal for Police Bravery
The Ontario Medal for Police Bravery was created in 1975 and is awarded annually to honour police officers that have gone above and beyond to protect and serve their community.
Ontario Medal for Police Bravery Recipients:
Provincial Constable Ken DeCloet
Ontario Provincial Police Norfolk County Detachment
On November 28, 2010, Provincial Constable Ken DeCloet was first to arrive at a residential fire. Learning that the homeowner was likely still inside, Constable DeCloet retrieved a fire extinguisher from his cruiser and extinguished enough of the fire to attempt an entry. On his first try he was pushed back by heavy heat and flame. He received minor burns to his hands and face from a violent "rollover", a phenomenon where fire gasses in a room ignite causing flames to roll across the ceiling.
Constable DeCloet made a second attempt to enter the residence, and advanced three to four feet before again being pushed back by extreme heat and smoke. He then had to restrain distressed family members who had arrived at the scene and were trying to get into the burning building.
Without regard for his injuries, Constable DeCloet assisted firefighters until more resources arrived. When firefighters were able to enter the burning home they found a female without vital signs. The victim was transported to hospital where, unfortunately, she died of her injuries two days later. Constable DeCloet's attempts to enter the building displayed his tremendous courage in a life threatening situation.
Constable Brian Follis
Owen Sound Police Service
On May 18, 2011, Constable Brian Follis was first to arrive on the scene of a fire in a three-story, commercial and residential building. Flames and smoke were visible from the upper floors of the building and a citizen, who had already rescued a baby from one apartment, informed him that two other people were still inside. Constable Follis rushed up an exterior metal stairway as burning embers began falling from above.
A woman fleeing down the stairway told him her boyfriend was still inside. Constable Follis' first attempt to enter the apartment was prevented by heavy smoke and flames. On his second attempt he discovered an incoherent male lying at the top of the stairs. He dragged the man down the stairwell to a landing next to the exterior stairway where two women were standing helpless. Flame and burning debris now blocked the stairway making it impassable.
Constable Follis alerted the fire department to the conditions and helped all three to a second storey breezeway where firefighters had raised a ladder. Only after assisting all others and was confident the building was clear did Constable Follis escape down the ladder. His quick intervention and perseverance avoided at least one fatality.
Constable Michael Mavity
Peel Regional Police
On November 22, 2010, Constable Michael Mavity of 12 Division Bicycle Unit was first to arrive at a scene where a woman had purposely jumped from a pier into Lake Ontario. A witness pointed to where the woman had gone under. Constable Mavity quickly assessed the situation and realized that the submerged woman needed to be pulled from the frigid waters immediately.
He could not wait for the marine unit, which had already been dispatched, to arrive. Without proper equipment, Constable Mavity scaled the rock face and dove into the water. He located the victim, grabbed hold of her and brought her to the surface. Constable Adam Paiement, also of the Bicycle Unit, was waist deep in the water and helped Constable Mavity bring the victim to land where they began first aid.
Unfortunately she succumbed to her injuries the next morning. Constable Mavity's decision to dive below the surface and rescue a citizen in distress, although extremely risky, was the only chance she had of surviving.
Constable Paiement's quick action helped bring the victim and Constable Mavity out of the water and prevent a greater tragedy. He will receive a Letter of Merit.
Constable Nicholas Moland-Osborne
Timmins Police Service
In the early morning of November 21, 2010, Constable Nicholas Moland-Osborne responded to a fire at a two-storey duplex. He arrived at the scene ahead of the fire trucks and witnessed a teenage boy hanging outside a second floor window. The boy yelled there were four more occupants inside.
Approaching the house, Constable Moland-Osborne met Timothy Howson, a firefighter with the Timmins Fire Department volunteer brigade who lived on the same street. Both men entered the burning house without protective equipment or a breathing apparatus. Inside, flames were attacking every corner of the room and licking over the ceiling.
Unable to see more than four feet ahead, Constable Moland-Osborne made his way up a small flight of stairs yelling for occupants to scream so he could get to them. He came across a man lying and moaning in a bathroom. He picked him up and began walking backwards down the steps but water spraying from the ceiling was making it difficult to keep his grip. Thick black smoke was also affecting his breathing.
After getting the man outside, Constable Moland-Osborne re-entered the house to ensure everybody was out. Downstairs he took a three-year old girl from the Firefighter and wrapped her in his coat. Unfortunately, the man pulled out of the house died of smoke inhalation, but the selfless actions of Constable Moland-Osborne prevented an even greater tragedy from unfolding.
Firefighter Timothy Howson of the Timmins Fire Department will receive the Ontario Medal for Firefighter Bravery, along with two other firefighters, Jim Lavoie and Gilles Leduc who also went above and beyond in this rescue.
Provincial Constable Jacques Thibeault
Ontario Provincial Police Russell County Detachment
On March 22, 2011, the OPP received a call from a social worker that her client had barricaded herself in an upstairs bedroom and threatened to set herself on fire. The social worker was unable to gain entry into the room but could hear the woman screaming as though she was on fire. At one point she yelled, "I am going to die and you are going to watch me die."
Provincial Constable Jacques Thibeault was first on the scene and spotted heavy smoke pouring from out a front bedroom window. Smoke and heat prevented his first attempt to enter the house. Using a wet cloth to cover his mouth he was able to enter after a second try. Familiar with the layout of the duplex from earlier dealings with the person, he was able to locate and remove the woman from the burning residence.
Constable Thibeault then forcefully entered an adjoining apartment and rescued a tenant who was sleeping while smoke seeped into his unit. Constable Thibeault was treated for smoke inhalation and released from hospital. Because he bravely confronted a series of dangerous unknowns, Constable Thibeault was able to save two lives.