The Ontario Medal for Police Bravery
Ontario Medal for Police Bravery Recipients:
Sergeant John L. Jorginson
Ontario Provincial Police General Headquarters Detachment, Security Review
Sergeant Jorginson was off duty and in his car on the afternoon of May 12, 2011, when he saw a cloud of dust coming from the opposite lane. A driver had hit a gravel shoulder causing her to lose control of her car and crash into a parked van. Sergeant Jorginson pulled off the road and ran to the crash site, where both vehicles were on fire. The driver's door was jammed and would not open. Despite intense heat and smoke, Sergeant Jorginson was able to climb into the car on the rear passenger side.
The driver was conscious but helpless. Sergeant Jorginson determined the only way to free the victim was to break the glass on the driver's side and pull her through the window. He covered the driver's face with a towel and left the car to get a rock to break the window. When he returned, the victim had removed the towel and was slumped against the window, preventing him from breaking the glass.
Sergeant Jorginson re-entered the vehicle and pulled the victim away from the window. With the help of two passersby, he was able to get the driver's door open, pull the woman free and drag her to safety just before both cars were engulfed in flames. The driver suffered major but non-life threatening injuries, and she survived the accident because of the brave actions of Sergeant Jorginson and two heroic civilians.
Constable Erik Blouin and Constable Kari Suutari
Peel Regional Police
In the early afternoon of June 1, 2012, Constables Blouin and Suutari of the Peel Regional Police marine unit received a report of a 35-foot sailboat in distress on Lake Ontario. The water was rough and Environment Canada had issued a gale force wind alert. With damaged sails and a failed engine, the vessel and its two crew members were helpless against the high waves and heavy winds.
By the time the constables arrived in a police rescue boat, the sailboat was being dangerously blown toward the shoreline. It is riskier to try get people off a distressed boat than it is to tow a vessel to safer waters. The tow, however, had to be abandoned because the larger sailboat was moving faster than the rescue boat. With less than two kilometres to shore, Constables Blouin and Suutari ordered the crew to weigh anchor so they could begin a boat-to-boat rescue.
High winds and rough water conditions made it impossible to bring the rescue boat alongside the sailboat. Constable Suutari brought the bow of the boat against the stern of the sailboat - knowing that if he did not handle the craft carefully, the rescue boat could be punctured, putting all four lives in danger. Constable Blouin then completed the boat-to-boat transfer in unstable waters. One hour after first sighting the sailboat, these two brave officers completed the rescue and brought the crew to safety.
Constable Peter Broske and Constable Marisa Van Overbeek
Toronto Police Service
On July 3, 2011, Constables Broske and Van Overbeek of the Toronto Police Service Mounted Unit were returning to the stables at the Toronto Exhibition grounds when they were alerted to a runaway horse-drawn wagon. A large picnic was being held on the grounds and organizers were offering rides on a wagon pulled by two Clydesdale horses. During one of those rides something spooked the horses causing them to bolt and the driver and three passengers to be ejected. The Clydesdales were now in full gallop toward the crowd of picnickers.
The officers first stood their police horses nose to nose across the roadway to try to stop the wagon. When the approaching horses would not slow down, the constables manoeuvred their mounts out of harm's way and gave chase to the wagon after it had passed. This was also dangerous because the police horses had little traction on the asphalt.
Constable Van Overbeek was able to overtake the wagon and manoeuvred her horse in front of the galloping team to begin slowing the wagon. As the Clydesdales started to slow, other police officers were able to jump on the empty wagon and eventually bring the horses under control.
Meanwhile, Constable Broske rode his horse directly beside the charging Clydesdales, to maintain a straight course and avoiding the bystanders on the side of the roadway. A family day at the Toronto Exhibition grounds could have turned into tragedy if it were not for the daring actions of these two police officers.
Constable Chris Stribopoulos and Constable Jian Zhang
Toronto Police Service
In the early morning of December 30, 2011, a citizen notified police of a traffic accident at a busy intersection. A motor vehicle travelling at a dangerous speed had failed to stop at a red light and had crashed into a taxi cab entering the intersection on the green. Both vehicles burst into flames as a result of the collision. The taxi had also hit a hydro pole. The driver of the speeding vehicle fled the scene, leaving the driver of the taxi trapped inside his cab.
Constables Stribopoulos and Zhang were the first to arrive on the scene. The driver of the burning taxi was unconscious. Constable Zhang made several attempts to enter the vehicle but was unable to do so because of the extensive damage resulting from the collision and impact with the hydro pole. With the fire intensifying and the possibility of an explosion, the officers took decisive action. Braving the extreme heat and flames, Constable Zhang smashed open the driver's window with his service baton. Both officers reached into the burning car, pulled the man out and carried him to safety.
Constables Stribopoulos and Zhang exposed themselves to imminent danger in rescuing the victim. There is no doubt that if not for the quick thinking and selfless actions of these two police officers, the victim would have died in the burning car.
Constable Susan McCormick
Windsor Police Service
On the evening of November 25, 2011, Constable McCormick and her partner were responding to a suicide attempt. A middle-aged man had jumped into the Detroit River. The man, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, had prevented an earlier rescue by pushing away a life preserver that had been thrown into the water. Constable McCormick immediately spotted the male drifting face down along a fast moving current, approximately 25 feet from a break wall. Constable McCormick quickly removed her equipment and plunged into the cold, dark river, grabbing a life preserver that her partner had thrown into the water.
When Constable McCormick reached the victim he was without vital signs. She rolled him on his back, wrapped her right arm around his chest and held onto the life ring with her left. Constable McCormick and the lifeless victim were pulled to shore by her partner. The top of the break wall was four feet above the river's surface. It did not have a ladder or step, which made pulling the victim out of the water more difficult. Several officers helped pull the man above the break wall and over to the paramedics who were able to successfully resuscitate him.
Constable McCormick showed signs of hypothermia and was treated and released by the Emergency Medical Services. It was noted by medical personnel and family members of the victim that had it not been for Constable McCormick's heroic actions that day, the man would have died.
Sergeant Neil Butler and Constable Richard Sziklai
Woodstock Police Service
On the morning of March 27, 2011, a Woodstock police patrol heard a violent explosion and saw smoke pouring out of the west side of an apartment complex. Sergeant Butler and Constable Sziklai were among the first to arrive on the scene. They found the apartment complex completely engulfed in fire and thick smoke, and residents were trapped on their balconies. It was also clear that there had been a large structural collapse at the centre of the building.
The officers saw a firefighter struggling to pull an elderly woman from her ground floor apartment window. Suddenly the third floor of the building collapsed and a brick wall struck the firefighter, breaking his leg. Without any fire protection gear and at great risk to their own safety, the officers ran past the rubble and dragged the woman to safety. Constable Sziklai then returned to the burning building to assist the injured firefighter and remove him from danger. Both officers then grabbed a fire hose to help fight the fire until they were relieved by fire personnel.
Sadly, two residents whose apartments were at the core of the explosion died in the tragedy. There is, however, no doubt that the swift and courageous actions of these two police officers saved a woman's life and rescued an injured firefighter.