Inspector Richard Hegedus knows the job of police officer leaves you connected to the greater community in many ways.
About three years ago, community worker Ned Blair approached the veteran officer – now second-in-command at 33 Division – asking if he had remembered him from a collision investigation. He needed some refreshing as he’s investigated hundreds of collisions in his nearly three decades with the Service.
It so happened that Hegedus clearly remembered the incident that involved four vehicles on southbound Keele St. near Wilson Ave. in the late 80s.
A car had ploughed three vehicles ahead of it, causing chain-reaction collisions.
“When I got the call, about two hours later, and arrived on the scene, I put the guy in the fourth car that had caused the collision in my squad car and went to the other three drivers to get their documents,” said Hegedus. “When I got back to my car with the suspect inside, and took a sniff, he was impaired so I arrested him.
“We, however, lost the impaired in court because the collision had occurred more than two hours previous to my receiving the call and none of the other drivers had had contact with the motorist who caused the collision.”
In their meeting in 2013, Blair thanked Hegedus for the work he did in the case.
“I missed the opportunity to do so after the court case, so I was very happy that we could reconnect,” said Blair. “The Service he provided was extremely professional and I wanted to tell him that. Losing the impaired in court had nothing to do with him.”
For his part, Hegedus is happy that Blair approached him.
“I thought that was really cool and it meant a lot to me,” he said. “To know that someone remembers you after all these years and would come up and say such nice things, made me feel good about my time with Toronto Police. It also really highlights how our actions can have a big impact, even years later. People remember we treated them well, but they will never forget if we treated them poorly. We want our lasting impressions to be positive ones.”
Hegedus was also impressed with Blair’s work in the community and attended, along with his daughter, the 32nd African Canadian Achievement Awards on February 20, where Blair was honoured with an Excellence in Community Service Award
“I am impressed with all the things Ned is doing, and am here to support him,” he added.