The Ontario Medal for Police Bravery
The Ontario Medal for Police Bravery was created in 1975 and is awarded annually to honour police officers who have gone above and beyond to protect and serve their community.
Ontario Medal for Police Bravery Recipients presented alphabetically by police service:
Constable Daniel Joly of the Belleville Police Service
Constable Daniel Joly was patrolling in a marked cruiser on the afternoon of Sept. 25, 2015, when he was flagged down by a citizen and directed to a house fire in a residential area. Constable Joly learned that a resident in one of the units was still inside and refusing to come out. The fire department had not yet been called. Constable Joly ran into the building, located a woman and directed her to safety. He then noticed a female resident of another unit on a landing at the side of the building with her two young children.
He ran up the stairwell, grabbed one of the children and carried him to safety. He then realized that the woman had gone back into her apartment to get the family dog. He once again ran up the stairwell and led the woman, her child and the dog to safety; the frightened animal biting him on the wrist in the process.
According to the Belleville Fire Department, the fire would have been well advanced by the time Constable Joly entered the building. The interior of the residence would have been extremely dangerous with thick black smoke billowing out of the doorway and windows. There would have been a low likelihood of survival, even with very short exposure times.
Constable Dan Joly's quick action and calmness under pressure led to a safe ending for all.
Constable Corey McGee of the Belleville Police Service
It was already shaping up to be a busy night the evening of Aug. 7, 2015, when Constable Corey McGee and his partner were dispatched to the home of a suicidal man. The man had called his mother to say "goodbye" and told her he loved her. The house was empty by the time the officers arrived. They learned from the communications centre that he had been spotted on a nearby railway line.
Belleville is a busy freight corridor with trains travelling at up to 96 kilometres per hour. Constable McGee saw the man standing on the tracks with a freight train coming in his direction. The constable immediately left his police car and began jogging toward the man without calling for backup, knowing that he had little time before the locomotive would strike the potential suicide victim.
When the constable tried to escort the man off the track bed, he stiffened and refused to leave the tracks. With the freight train barreling down on them, Constable McGee estimated they had about three seconds before impact and used a peroneal or leg strike just above the knee to knock the man down and pin him against some rocks as the train sped by.
Constable Corey McGee risked his life that evening to save a suicidal man. The man was taken to a nearby hospital accompanied by his mother.
Constable Fraser Curtis of the Chatham-Kent Police Service
In the early morning of May 7, 2016, Constable Fraser Curtis and his partner were responding to a call of a house fire. The exact address was unknown. Their patrol car was flagged down by a passerby who directed them to the fire and advised that someone might still be in the building. A large amount of thick black smoke was pouring from some second story windows.
Several police were on the scene and attempting to gain access to the upper apartment. Constable Curtis was forced to breach the door and he entered the building. Although the officers could not see anything, they heard a person coughing from inside an apartment. It was later learned that this man had consumed large quantities of beer before attempting to cook something on the stove.
The apartment was quickly filling with smoke and fire. Constable Curtis saw a small gap in the fire and crawled on the floor along the hallway. The man came stumbling toward him, wearing nothing put a pair of boxers, covered in soot, very intoxicated, belligerent and disoriented. He was initially confrontational with police and kept asking for the officers to let him back into his burning apartment. Constable Curtis grabbed the man and physically carried him out of the building.
A few more minutes could have ended tragically for the victim. Constable Fraser Curtis entered a dangerous situation and put himself in harm's way.
Detective Constable Bryan Armstrong of the Durham Regional Police Service
Detective Constable Bryan Armstrong, a member of the Police K9 unit was on patrol with an auxiliary constable on the evening of March 26, 2016, when the pair were dispatched to a trestle bridge spanning a busy highway. A man was spotted standing on a narrow metal walkway beside the tracks and was leaning over the railing. Police would later learn that this man had previously attempted suicide.
Detective Constable Armstrong climbed to the top of the embankment where the man, clearly distressed, ordered the constable to not come any closer. He appeared ready to throw himself over the railing, but engaged in conversation with the officer. Detective Constable Armstrong could see the headlight of a freight train in the distance. The man, fixated on the light, stepped onto the tracks and in the path of the approaching train. With his target now moved away from the railing and focused on the train, the officer saw his opportunity. He sprinted forward, grabbed the man and pinned him down against the walkway as the train sped by less than one metre away.
The constable realized they were not out of danger yet. A freight train can stretch up to four kilometres, and a wide car in the middle of the train could strike and kill them both. He was also concerned that the man might try to roll toward the train. He began dragging the man, who was acting as a dead weight, backwards by his shoulders. With the auxillary constable's assistance, the man was dragged off the bridge and brought down the embankment to safety.
Detective Constable Bryan Armstrong risked his life that evening and prevented a senseless tragedy.
Constable Chris Lindey of the Niagara Regional Police Service
On the afternoon of Feb. 22, 2016, a woman was walking her dog along the partially frozen Welland Canal when the animal broke free and ran onto a patch of ice before jumping into open water. Panicked, the owner followed the dog onto the canal to rescue it but fell through the ice into the frigid waters. She clung helplessly to a chunk of ice.
The woman had been immersed in the water for about an hour and could not feel her fingers or legs before another dog walker passed by and called emergency services. Constable Chris Lindey and three other officers arrived in the area, but were unable to locate the victim. Recognizing a water rescue was imminent, Constable Lindey equipped himself with the throw rope from his vehicle. By the time the officers located the woman she was struggling to hold onto a large tree branch the passerby had extended to keep her from going under water.
Without hesitation, Constable Lindey slowly moved out onto the ice with the throw rope. Several attempts to rescue the woman by the officer and a team of constables on the shore were unsuccessful. The ice gave way as Constable Lindey moved closer to the victim, and he too plunged into the freezing water. Fortunately he had already removed his duty belt and body armor to prevent immediate submersion from the weight.
Lindey was able to maneuver himself behind the victim as the officers on shore tugged on the rope. Rescuers slowly inched the woman closer to shore and were able to pull her safely out of the water.
The woman was treated for severe hypothermia, but was able to make a fully recovery. Constable Christopher Lindey's actions on the ice and while in the frigid water was instrumental in saving her life.
Provincial Constable William Barber of the Ontario Provincial Police, Prince Edward County Detachment
Provincial Constable William Barber was on uniform patrol on the morning of March 12, 2016, when he came across a house fully engulfed by flame. Fire and emergency medical services were on the way.
The front-line responders were met by a frantic woman who was yelling that her son was still inside the house. Provincial Constable Barber immediately ran to a side of the house where there was a ladder leading to a second story window. He climbed up but was immediately overcome by thick black smoke which prevented him from entering the building. He ran to the back of the house where two other constables on the scene had smashed open a door and broke several windows to clear the house of smoke. The officers were unable to enter the house and started shouting through the door, hoping to get a response from the victim. Their shouts were met with silence.
Covered in black soot, Provincial Constable Barber ran up a back set of stairs to a second story door that was open. He got on his hands and knees and decided to crawl deeper into the residence. His two colleagues held onto his ankles to ensure he did not go too far in. The fire, smoke and heat were too intense and he was pulled away after 30 seconds. Outside, Provincial Constable Barber was unsteady on his feet and had difficulties breathing. He was taken to hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation.
Three people escaped the fire that night. Sadly, despite the heroics of Provincial Constable William Barber to save him, a fourth man died in the blaze.
Provincial Constables Andrew Sloss and Marty Thibault of the Ontario Provincial Police, Temiskaming Detachment
Provincial Constables Andrew Sloss and Marty Thibault were working past their shift on the morning of Nov. 29, 2014, when an emergency call came in from a woman who was having problems breathing, perhaps due to smoke in her building. Even though the constables were already working late, they responded with their colleagues.
Smoke was coming from the rear entrance of a low-rise building. Many of the residents were initially unaware of the fire. Provincial Constables Sloss, Thibault and other OPP officers endured intense heat and thick black smoke as they crawled along hallways, broke open doors, shattered windows, climbed to the top of the building to bang on windows to alert residents of the fire and entered units to evacuate.
Advised that a woman was trapped in her top floor apartment, Provincial Constable Sloss went to the rooftop and gained access to the unit through a window. With the help of a resident, he was able to lift the woman through the window. But the route he had taken up to the roof was now blocked by smoke. Provincial Sloss located an alternative escape route and officers positioned a ladder for him to climb down with the woman.
Meanwhile, Provincial Constable Thibault was outside a second floor window to rescue another trapped resident. He removed a window screen, which allowed a woman to stick her head out and draw air. Heavy black smoke poured out. As Provincial Constable Thibault shattered a second window the woman heard noise, thought it was firefighters and walked away from the window. Provincial Constable Thibault yelled at her to come back, but she was overcome by smoke and was disoriented. He was eventually able to coach her through the window and down the ladder.
Three individuals were rescued from that building. Had either Provincial Constables Andrew Sloss or Marty Thibault hesitated in their actions that morning there is a strong probability there would have been loss of life.
Constable Patrick Rawn of the Owen Sound Police Service
In the early hours of Aug. 10, 2015, Constable Patrick Rawn responded to an active fire at the south end of a series of residential row houses. It was his third fire of the night. A suspected arsonist would eventually leave 60 Owen Sound residents homeless at five locations before dawn.
The danger level for Constable Rawn escalated for each subsequent call. The constable had removed two propane tanks, a barbeque and other debris leaning against the burning building, and had assisted a woman and man through an open window to safety when he noticed several occupants from the rear units of the complex trapped behind a wall of flame blocking their one path out. A deck was on fire and flames were shooting violently outward from a natural gas line that had ruptured and ignited.
Without proper protective gear, the officer ran through the flames toward the trapped occupants. He identified an alternate safe route over a tall wooden fence. He then continued to check units to ensure all occupants were accounted for. Upon receiving no response at one unit, he forced entry to ensure that no one was inside.
A nearby vehicle had caught fire from the ignited gas spout of a parked car. While trying to douse the flames, Constable Rawn was alerted to an unaccounted occupant within the row house complex. He attempted to gain access but was driven back by heavy smoke. He alerted firefighters to the possibility of a trapped person, and returned to the burning car.
Nobody died that night, in large part because of Constable Patrick Rawn's quick thinking and tireless heroics.
Constable Kevin Morrison of Peel Regional Police
Constable Kevin Morrison was the first responder on the scene of a house fire on March 8, 2015. He was immediately faced with a very high stress and emotional situation. Flames and smoke were coming from the second floor of a two-story semi-detached home and one of the residents was panicked and yelling that her adult son and elderly mother were still trapped inside.
Constable Morrison also heard someone yelling for help, saying that they were trapped in a bedroom on the north side of the home. Fire services had not yet arrived, and the constable decided to try and rescue the remaining occupants. Without the use of a breathing apparatus or fire retardant clothing, Constable Morrison entered the home and immediately encountered smoke and low visibility.
He navigated his way up the stairs using his flashlight to guide the way, while yelling for the occupants to respond so he could pinpoint their location. At this time he encountered extreme smoke, poor breathing conditions and an active fire flaming out of one of the bedrooms. Constable Morrison found the pair in an adjacent bedroom. He physically took hold of both individuals and guided them past the fire, down the stairs and out of the residence to safety.
The elderly woman, her grandson and officer were all treated for smoke inhalation. A tragedy was narrowly averted because Constable Kevin Morrison, confronted with a life and death situation, put himself in harm's way to save lives.
Constables Mark Borsboom and Erik Corba of the Toronto Police Service
Fires today burn faster, hotter and give off larger volumes of thick, dangerous smoke. Constables Mark Borsboom and Erik Corba were on patrol in the early hours of March 20, 2014, when they detected smoke coming from a semi-detached building with restaurants on the ground floor and apartments on the upper two floors.
The constables observed heavy plumes of smoke coming from the second floor. There were many people still in the apartments. All apartments in the building were accessed through a single entrance and stairwell.
The fire service had not yet arrived so Constables Borsboom and Corba entered the stairwell and immediately dropped to the floor and crawled up the stairs to keep themselves below the heavy smoke. They found an unconscious female on the floor near a closed door. Constable Borsboom handed the woman over to Constable Corba who carried her outside, placing her in the recovery position before rushing back upstairs to assist his partner.
The fire was growing stronger and paint was peeling off the walls from the intense heat. The constables were having trouble breathing as they continued to search for other residents. Close to being overcome by smoke, the officers exited the building.
Observing people on the third floor trying to escape the fire, but unable to access the building on the ground level, Borsboom and other police officers secured ladders from fire service personnel to enter the second floor and rescue other occupants. Unfortunately two residents succumbed to injuries sustained in the fire.
Fifteen people were rescued as a result of Constables Mark Borsboom and Erik Corba's bravery, including the female who medics say would have died if it hadn't been for these officers.
Constable Zoran Ivkovic of the Toronto Police Service
A sunny spring morning nearly turned tragic for at least one child trapped inside a burning, low-rise apartment. Constable Zoran Ivkovic was first on the scene on March 31, 2015. Constable Ivkovic's sense of urgency heightened when he learned from dispatch of trapped children inside. Without protective gear, Ivkovic ran into the building and started up a stairwell where he was meet by thick, billowing black smoke. He could feel the heat of the fire as he moved closer to the source in near pitch darkness. His lungs were filling with smoke.
The smoke was so intense that Constable Ivkovic had to drop to the floor and crawl along the corridor, banging on doors as he moved toward the source of the fire. As he reached the correct unit he realized that the apartment was fully engulfed by flame and he must act immediately if anyone had any hope for survival. Dizzy and weakened by a lack of oxygen, the officer was nevertheless able to force the door open.
An open door re-introduces oxygen to the fire, which caused the flames to roll across the ceiling toward the officer. Constable Ivkovic got on his hands and knees and made a search of the area with his flashlight, calling out victims as best he could. He came across a severely burned young boy. As gently as he could, he picked the boy up and cradled him from the encroaching flames.
Six adults and three children were rescued from the building that morning, including the 11 year-old boy who sustained major burns to his body and is recovering. Were it not for the heroic actions of Constable Zoran Ivkovic, the boy would not have survived.
Constables Jean-Marc Loiselle and Eric Ka Wai Yu of the Toronto Police Service
In the early hours of May 18, 2016, Constables Jean-Marc Loiselle and Eric Ka Wai Yu were responding to a report of an apartment building fire. The constables arrived on the scene and could see smoke billowing from a third floor balcony. They radioed for the fire service and rushed upstairs to assist people evacuating.
Constables Loiselle and Yu identified the unit that was on fire. Waiting for the fire service was not an option if victims happened to be inside. The apartment was filled with smoke and engulfed in flame. Constable Loiselle did not hesitate to enter the unit, while his partner updated dispatch on the situation.
The fire was burning uncontrollably. Concerned for his partner's safety, Constable Yu entered the apartment to assist any possible victims, and to remove his partner before the heat and smoke incapacitated him. Both constables were about to exit the inferno when they saw an unconscious victim. They repeatedly attempted to alert and reach the victim, but were pushed back by the overpowering heat and thick smoke.
Back in the hallway, the officers alerted firefighters to the victim inside. The individual was removed from the apartment without vital signs. Both officers were examined at the scene for smoke inhalation, and Constable Loiselle was transported to hospital in serious condition.
Constables Jean Marc Loiselle and Eric Kai Wai Yu recognized the dangers that night, but put their concerns aside to attempt a rescue in a perilous and life threatening situation.