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 Matthew Sweet of the Belleville Police Service
Just after midnight on an early May morning, Constable Matthew Sweet and his partner responded to a report of a suspected suicidal woman struggling with a man near a set of railway tracks. The officers were in the vicinity and arrived on the scene just as the railway crossing lights activated and the traffic barriers were coming down.
A freight train, travelling at a high rate of speed, was approximately 100 metres from the crossing where the couple were struggling. The man moved away, leaving the woman stranded and frozen near the tracks. Constable Sweet sprinted toward the woman, who was standing close to the tracks and in the path of the speeding train. He pulled her away as the train rushed past, missing them by inches.
The woman continued to struggle with the constable, but Constable Sweet and his partener were able to get the woman into the police cruiser and transport her to a local hospital for treatment.
Constable Matthew Sweet's bravery and swift action prevented a tragedy that morning.
Provincial Constables Paul Drake and Christopher Thompson of Brant County OPP Detachment, and Constable Jeremy Morton of the Brantford Police Service
Constable Jeremy Morton was conducting traffic enforcement in the morning on New Year's Day when he was alerted by a motorist to a possible house fire. Driving closer to the scene, the constable saw smoke coming from a rooftop. He called the fire department and left his cruiser to see if he could help.
It was believed a man was trapped in an upstairs bedroom. Without hesitation, Constable Morton entered the home. Smoke and extreme heat were coming from the upper level. The Constable called out the name of the occupant but received no reply. He grabbed a fire extinguisher from his cruiser and re-entered the home, making his way to the upper bedroom where he thought the occupant was located.
On his third attempt to complete a rescue, Constable Morton was joined by Provincial Constables Paul Drake and Christopher Thompson. All three police officers rushed into the house, but were quickly pushed back by the heat and thick heavy smoke.
As more police arrived, Provincial Constable Thompson called for them to bring fire extinguishers from their cruisers. A final attempt was made to beat back the flames using multiple fire extinguishers, climb the stairs and locate the presumed victim.
By then, fire had completely engulfed the walls and the intensity of the flames made it impossible to proceed. Back outside, the Provincial Constables grabbed another hose to assist firefighters. All three were later taken by ambulance to a local hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation.
Provincial Constables Paul Drake and Christopher Thompson, and Constable Jeremy Morton entered a burning house on multiple occasions to save a life. Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured in the fire. It was learned that the assumed occupant was not at home, but at a neighbours nearby.
Provincial Constable Jeffrey Lobsinger of Thessalon OPP detachment
In early spring 2017, three men had gone ice-fishing on Gordon Lake, using two snowmobiles. As they neared the shoreline, the lead snowmobile with a lone driver broke through the ice, plunging the vehicle and the man into freezing water. The two on the second snowmobile tried to help their friend, but were unsuccessful because they too kept breaking through the thinning ice.
Provincial Constable Jeffrey Lobsinger and another officer arrived on the scene. Provincial Constable Lobsinger put on a floater's suit and went out to where the submerged man was struggling to get back onto the ice, but the ice gave way as he approached. A floater suit does not have the same insulation as an ice rescue suit, and will take in water. The provincial constable managed to pull himself back onto the ice and rolled back towards the shore where he gathered tree branches to attempt another rescue.
Despite the extremely hazardous conditions the officer inched ever closer to the victim, breaking through the ice several more times. He was finally forced to abandon his attempts after reaching exhaustion and with ice vanishing from underneath him. He kept shouting words of encouragement to the man from the shore as they all waited for emergency support vheicles.
The victim was rescued from the water with the assistance of a United States Coast Guard helicopter and Sault Ste. Marie Fire Department's air boat, but would later succumb to the effects of hypothermia after being submerged in icy water for two hours.
Despite the tragic outcome, Provincial Constable Jeffrey Lobsinger knowingly placed his own life in grave danger in multiple attempts to make the rescue.