The heroic efforts of citizens who lifted a car off a trapped man, the complex work to prevent a youth from being sexually exploited, and a life-saving diagnosis by a paramedic-turned-police officer were among the achievements showcased during the Delta Police Department’s annual awards ceremony last week.
DDP officers and their families, police board members, Delta Police Foundation representatives and guests gathered Thursday night (Oct. 28) at Tsawwassen Springs for a COVID-safe celebration honouring the achievements of Delta residents and police officers over the past two years, after the pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s ceremony.
“It was a very moving evening, being able to gather to honour some of the incredible work being done, not just by our officers, but also by our own Delta citizens,” Chief Neil Dubord said in a press release. “Many of the awards celebrated work that was literally life-saving or life-changing.”
One award acknowledged the importance of the skills officers bring with them when they join the Delta Police Department. Const. Steve Vickery came to the DPD as a mature recruit with years of paramedic experience. In September of 2020, he answered the call when Emergency Health Services asked for police to assist with an aggressive man.
Vickery noted the man seemed extremely confused, with abnormal and slurred speech, and had difficulty performing basic tasks, so he told the BC Ambulance crew that the male could be suffering from a brain bleed. The male refused medical assistance, however Vickery was able to apprehend him under the Mental Health Act and he was taken to hospital.
The man later contacted Vickery to thank him and share that the constable’s diagnosis of an intracranial hemorrhage was correct and the man had required immediate life-saving neurosurgery. For his work on this file, Vickery was awarded a Deputy Chief Constable Commendation.
“Through the course of our work, often the goal of police isn’t to take enforcement action but is instead focused on putting supports in place for the victim, or preventing victimization,” Dubord said of two Superintendent Commendations that were awarded Thursday night.
The first was for officers who successfully intervened with an underage at-risk victim who was being sexually exploited, and who has now turned her life around. The second acknowledged the work of officers who helped send a 16-year-old being groomed for child exploitation back to her family outside of Canada.
“These are investigations that we can’t necessarily share with the community, in order to protect the privacy of those involved, so it’s very meaningful to acknowledge our officers work in this manner,” Dubord said. “Working with at-risk youths and children is incredibly important but also very time consuming, and I want to also acknowledge the partnerships we have with the Delta School District and other social services supports.”
The Delta Police Department only recently welcomed volunteers back to its offices, but one volunteer remained very active throughout the pandemic.
In 2019, the district community police offices (DCPOs) initiated the “Keep In Touch” program, which offers help to seniors living in the community with limited or no family support, and Mary-Lynn G’froerer volunteered to be the program’s co-ordinator. Program volunteers regularly make phone contact with participants to check in on their health and wellness.
Since March of 2020, despite the DCPOs being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, G’froerer has continued the program on her own. For her extraordinary commitment to the community, G’froerer was awarded the Delta Police Volunteer of the Year award.
Chief Constable Commendations are the highest level of award presented by the Delta Police Department.
On the afternoon of Jan. 28, 2019, Const. Jason Martens was involved in the search for a homicide suspect from the United States. Martens was tenacious in getting updated information from his American counterparts and learned the suspect was making phone calls from a phone located at Peace Arch Hospital.
Containment was set up at the hospital and, once on scene, Martens observed the suspect inside the front entrance. The suspect began to run through the busy hospital’s emergency department while being pursued by Const. Martens and an RCMP member. The suspect surrendered and a loaded handgun was located in his waistband. For his courage and tenacity, while considering the risk to public safety, Martens was awarded a Chief Constable Commendation.
Here is the full list of awards presented Thursday night:
Delta Police Outstanding Citizen Award
• Hendrik Van Beek (submerged vehicle rescue)
• Harsharan Singh, Abhayjeet Singh, Garry Bansal, Inderpreet Sekhon, Josh Gibson, Logan Gain, Carey Griffin and Aileen Noguer (pinned victim rescue)
Community Engagement Award
• The Harmony Initiative Society (THIS) founders Warren Dean-Flandez and Geeta Schallig
Volunteer of the Year Award
• Mary-Lynn G’froerer (for dedication as a volunteer, including continuing to work from home during COVID-19
Patrol Officer of the Year
• Const. Paul Uppal
Outstanding Police Staff of the Year:
• Amanda Thompson
Chief Constable Commendations
• Const. Jason Martens (arrest of American homicide suspect)
• Const. Aaron McRae and Const. Chris Cottrill (extraordinary effort arresting fleeing homicide suspect)
• Const. Jaskaran Dhillon, Const. Grayson Hawkings and Const. Scott McClure (fire evacuation — Ladner)
• Const. Cameron Wilson and Const. Hilary Ferguson (suicidal man with knife)
• Const. Jacob Nolan (submerged vehicle rescue)
• Const. Jake Primeau and [name withheld] (Alex Fraser Bridge suicide attempt)
Deputy Chief Constable Commendations
• Unit citation: Staff Sgt. Dave Vaughan-Smith; Sgt. Dan McLean, Sgt. James Sandberg, [name withheld], [name withheld], Const. Mike Clark, Const. Dustin Classen, Victim Services assistant co-ordinator Kristin Vaughan-Smith and Crown counsel Shelene Rail (criminal harassment investigation)
• Unit citation: Sgt. James Sandberg, Sgt. Dan McLean, Sgt. Gary Koonar, Const. Christina Bruce, [name withheld], Const. Dustin Classen, Const. Mike Clark and Const. Emily Wawruck (arson investigation)
• Const. Catherine Fiddick and Const. Sandy Sernoski (Fraser River suicide attempt)
• Const. Steven Vickery (life-saving apprehension of person suffering from brain bleed)
• Const. Harry Dhillon (CPR on overdosed passenger)
• Const. Jaskaran Dhillon (suicidal youth on Alex Fraser Bridge)
• Const. Grayson Hawkings and Const. Joel Thirsk (quicksand rescue)
• Unit citation: Deputy Chief Harj Sidhu, Insp. Craig New, Insp. Kim Campbell, Insp. Ciaran Feenan, Insp. Ryan Hall, Insp. Mo Parry, Acting Staff Sgt. Jason Formby, Sgt. Jim Ingram, Const. Karrie Graham, and Katie Vales, Andrea Peterson, Hilary Madore and Elaine Alger with the City of Delta (Delta Police Department COVID Response Team)
• Unit citation: Sgt. Richard Stabler, Acting Sgt. Brittney Dawson, Const. Kristine Pemberton, Const. Mike Grandia and child and youth care worker Danica Payne (successful intervention with at-risk victim)
• Unit citation: Sgt. Gwen Vaughan-Smith; Sgt. Richard Stabler, Acting Sgt. Brittney Dawson, [name withheld], [name withheld], Const. Aaron Pante and Const. Ryan Labrosse (victim as agent)
• Unit citation: Const. Kathy Bauman, Const. Sandy Sernoski and Const. Kristine Pemberton (intervention of international at-risk victim)
• Unit citations: Sgt. Raman Athwal, Const. Bianca Boyce, Const. Kevin Hilliard, Const. Nathan Porter, Const. Kathy Bauman, Const. Nav Bring, Const. Ganesh Krishnan, Const. Kristine Pemberton, Const. Mike Grandia, Const. Matt Rancourt, Const. Jaspreet Sahota, Const. Michael Santos and Const. Chris Ward (Burnsview Secondary stabbing)
• Sgt. James Sandberg (Health IM Project)
• Sgt. Jim Ingram (drone program implementation)
• Kim Henke (meritorious service – major case assistant)