Exceptional Calls for Service

Right Place, Right Time: Neighbourhood Cop stops Crime in Progress

Neighbourhood Resource Teams (NRT) were introduced in 2019 in three high-priority communities. Officers are assigned to specific areas to respond to calls for service and engage with the community to solve problems using police, community and city resources.

One such example happened in November 2019 when NRT officers nabbed a hit and run suspect with the help of Patrol and Traffic officers as well as members of the public.

They were working in Vanier when a 911 call came in for a hit and run collision on Montreal Rd. A vehicle traveling westbound had turned suddenly in front of an eastbound car and the driver took off before police arrived.

The NRT, along with Traffic and Patrol officers, searched the area and located the suspect vehicle abandoned. Thanks to the help of observant witnesses, NRT officers quickly found the 30-year-old man hiding in a bus shelter and arrested him.

The man was charged with several Highway Traffic Act offences.

The incident was alarming because the man showed little regard for public safety, not only because he lacked the proper driving documents, but he continued to drive while suspended and in a manner that put other road users at risk.

This is just one of many stories about how the NRTs are actively working to build relationships in neighbourhoods with a focus on public safety.

Officers’ instincts save toddler

In November 2019, officers did their best to bring kindness and compassion to a tragic situation. They were called to a home in the east end where a woman collapsed after knocking on a stranger’s door. When officers arrived, Constables Gurprit Dhaliwal, Cristian Malurica and Shawn Jones tried to resuscitate the woman; but sadly, she passed away from an apparent heart attack in hospital.

While one officer attended the hospital, the other two officers kept investigating to determine how the woman got there. They searched the area and came across an SUV that was parked crooked in a nearby driveway. The registered owner turned out to be the woman who had been taken to hospital. They looked inside to find a toddler sound asleep and safely secured in a car seat, none the wiser that anything had happened. The toddler had been spending some quality time with their grandmother when tragedy struck.

Officers woke the child and brought them to a warm police cruiser. The toddler was cared for and entertained by cartoons on one of the officer’s cell phones until a family member arrived to take over. The officers then returned the woman’s car to her family and secured it in their driveway so it was one less thing to deal with given the circumstances.

Officers extended their condolences to the family, letting them know that they should be very proud of their loved one for ensuring her grandchild was safe and secure in what she likely knew was a dire situation.

 Constable Kevin Dorion along with two women and two children smiling brightly

Rookie officer who grew up in social housing says, ‘the sky is the limit’

Constable Kevin Dorion grew up in social housing in the South end.

“As a kid, I heard all the time I would grow up to be a criminal,” said Kevin, who graduated from the Ontario Police College in August of this year. “But thanks to some good influences in my life, I didn’t go down that path.”

His mother and step-father taught Kevin and his older brother that hard work leads to success. They encouraged them to do well in school, take part in sports and make the most of every opportunity. 

That’s one of the reasons Kevin joined Christie Lake Kids, who believes growing up in poverty should not define a person or limit their potential.

“I was a camper and part of the Skills Through Arts and Recreation (STAR) program,” he said.

It was through Christie Lake Kids and the Confederation Court Community Centre that Kevin met and found role models and inspiration in police officers who took time to stop in.

“When police are called, it’s not usually a good thing,” said Kevin, “but if they come by just to say ‘hi’, that’s a powerful way to make connections.”

Kevin made the most of what was offered. He learned Karate through Christie Lake Camp, he ran Track and Field and he played both touch and tackle football at St. Patrick High School.

“It wasn’t always easy,” said Kevin, “but the programs and sports gave me something to do to keep me out of trouble.”

Kevin has a message to other kids growing up in community housing. “The sky is the limit. Get involved in activities, join sports, and go to Christie Lake Kids. Look for ways to make your community better. If you want to be a police officer, don’t be afraid to talk to them.”

As a new police officer, Kevin chose to work in the South End, to give back to his community. “Knowing the area and the people helps me do my job. I can say, ‘I’m from here’ and there’s an instant connection.”

Officer returns to work after dog attack injury

Six months after a dog attack on March 1, 2019, Constable Amanda Munro returned back at work on light duties.

“I was lucky, I didn’t need surgery,” said Amanda, who received serious injuries to her left arm when she was attacked by a dog while accompanying another agency to a residence in Vanier. She had no choice but to shoot the animal with her service firearm.

Physiotherapy is helping her regain strength and mobility in her injured arm. It’s been a slow recovery, but she’s making progress.

“The hardest part was not being able to pick up my son or even change his diaper. He’s too young to understand why I couldn’t,” said Amanda. “For the first six weeks, I had to have someone with me to help look after him.”

Because of the high likelihood of infection that goes with animal bites, the injury had to be left open to heal from the inside out. “They closed the wound in three places and I was put on antibiotics to prevent an infection,” said Amanda.

An animal lover, Amanda now has a healthy caution towards strange dogs. “I know I will encounter dogs when I return to the road and some of them could be aggressive,” she said. “I will be more alert when they are present,  but it doesn’t change the fact I love dogs.”

Amanda hopes to gain full use of her arm.

Tactical team safely apprehends suicidal barricaded man

Sometimes, people need help but they don’t know how to ask for it.

That’s exactly what happened on November 4, 2019 when a 59-year-old man called 911 to say he wanted to kill himself. And, because he added he would shoot any officers who came to his house, the OPS Tactical Unit was dispatched.

“These situations are always potentially dangerous because they’re unpredictable. For instance, we didn’t know if he was armed,” said the Tactical officer who negotiated with the man and doesn’t wish to be named. “Our goal is to resolve any situation without risking our safety and the wellbeing of the individual.”

The officer has been an OPS member for 18 years, 15 of which have been with the Tactical Unit. “For whatever reason, this man was distraught and he didn’t know where to turn.”

When they got there, he refused to come out and wouldn’t let anyone inside.

In fact, his manner kept switching between anger and calm.  “But I continued speaking with him and he admitted he needed help.”

The officer spoke to the man for 20 to 30 minutes, establishing a rapport and assuring him help was available. He finally relented, throwing down a knife he had in the back of his pants and letting officers inside. They apprehended him safely without injury to himself or anyone else.

“You feel for people in these situations when they can’t cope,” said the officer. “His original plan was to kill himself when, in his mind, we busted down the door to get him, but he was surprised when we waited patiently until he was ready and that I listened to him. I’m glad we had the resolution we did.”

If you find yourself in crisis, there are resources available to you.