Our Finest Honoured

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 4:05 p.m. May 12, 2015
Updated: 4:34 p.m. May 12, 2015

Just like your home, a police station is supposed to be a place of safety.

Four men in TPS uniform holding certificates
Staff Sergeant Ron Boyce and Constables Mark Da Silva, Matthew Ho and Bradley McCarthy won Police Officer of the Month honours for April 2014

On April 8 last year, Staff Sergeant Ron Boyce and fellow officers were taken aback by a man claiming he was in possession of a gun.

It was just after 3 p.m. when Boyce went to the front desk to assist a citizen.

“When I asked him how I could help, he said he had a gun,” recalled Boyce. “I was totally surprised and I said ‘pardon me and could you repeat what you said’. His response was that he had a gun and he was going to use it.”

Constable Mark DaSilva, also behind the counter attending to another citizen, could not believe what he had just heard.

“I asked the man I was talking to leave the area for safety concerns,” said DaSilva, who joined the Service in 2006 after two years with Peel Regional Police Service. “Based on his facial expression, the man was just as shocked as I was.”

Boyce tried to keep the man, who claimed he was armed with a gun, calm while attracting the attention of other officers in close proximity.

“I signalled to two other officers – Constables Bradley McCarthy and Matthew Ho, who were close by, to enter the lobby through a side door and jump the guy because he said he had a gun,” added Boyce. “I didn’t really think he had one but, when the officers came through the door and sprung on him, he pulled out a gun from his pocket. The fight was on. Mark jumped over the desk and we were all on the floor with him. I was holding his head down and we struggled with him before getting the gun out of his hand.”

It turned out to be a replica handgun and the man, when questioned, said he wanted to be killed by a police officer that day. 

“When we were back in the cell with him, he was very emotional,” said DaSilva. “He needed help which we were able to get him.”

Boyce is extremely proud of the way his officers handled the tense situation.

“They acted professionally,” he noted. “After the adrenaline rush had subsided, we realized this young man needed medical assistance as he was going through some type of crisis.”

Boyce, DaSilva, Ho and McCarthy were the Officers of the Month winners for April. 

They were among 12 stories nominated for the annual  Toronto Region Board of Trade Police Officer of the Year Award to be presented on June 10. There were also two groups of civilians nominated for Business Excellence Awards.

A woman in TPS uniform shakes hands with a man in TPS uniform in front of a row of officers
Constable Diane Hibbits is congratulated on her Police Officer of the Month honour by senior officers including Inspector Rob Johnson

January

While conducting surveillance in an investigation involving violent kidnappings, home invasions and the operation of an escort service operation, Sergeants Sajeev Nair and Ajay Sidhu observed a robbery in progress on October 22, 2013.

They saw two men – one with a firearm – kick, punch and pistol-whip a male before removing the victim’s duffel bag and wallet and fleeing.

While chasing the suspects, the 53 Division officers observed one of the suspects discard the firearm, which was later located after the suspects were apprehended following a short foot pursuit.

The investigation revealed that the suspects were the masterminds behind the kidnapping ring and, after months of further investigations that led to search warrants, seven individuals were arrested. The victims were often drug dealers so they did not report the crimes to police.


February

Had it not been for quick thinking and dogged police work by 42 Division Constables Yiorgo Christodoulou and Kim Kelly, a young boy might not be alive today. The officers sensed something was wrong when the lad and his sister were picked up at their school by their father earlier on February 3, 2014.

After their attempts to locate the children were unsuccessful, the officers contacted the father’s bank to trace his transactions. That led them to a Scarborough hotel where he had checked in.

When the officers showed up at the hotel room and knocked on the door, they were greeted by a male voice on the other side. They identified themselves but were not allowed access. With the aid of hotel staff, they gained entry to the room and found a boy conscious and breathing and a young girl, without vital signs, lying next to her father, who had a bag tied over his face.

The six-year-old girl was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead and the father was revived in hospital. Jason Adotey, 35, was charged with First-Degree Murder and Attempted Murder.

March

While on patrol on March 20, 2014, Constables Erik Corba and Marcelinus Borsboom smelled smoke and a dispatcher’s call confirmed that a nearby building was on fire. Arriving at the scene before the fire department, the officers entered the building where several people were trapped inside.

Crawling up to the second floor through thick dark smoke, they found an unconscious woman whom they brought out of the building. Another attempt to enter the building to rescue other people was forfeited when the officers had trouble breathing.

Constables Daniel Macnab, Kristal McCullough, David Ribarovic and Onofrio Ferlisi later arrived on the scene and assisted firemen with the rescue. Mcnab and McCullough climbed to the building roof to help evacuate a person and then drove an ambulance to the hospital on an emergency run.

In the meantime, Ribarovic and Ferlisi found another victim while searching the building’s exterior, secured ladders for fire personnel during the rescue, and assisted with rushing two victims to hospital.

Two residents succumbed to injuries sustained in the fire and 15 were rescued, including two children from the building that was completely destroyed.

April

Staff Sergeant Ron Boyce was at the front desk of 23 Division, on April 8, 2014, when a man walked into the station and announced that he was carrying a gun. After asking the man to repeat himself, it drew the attention of Constable Mark Da Silva, who was speaking to another person at the front desk, advising the man to clear the lobby area. Boyce advised Constable Bradley McCarthy – who was in close proximity – of what the man had said and, along with Constable Matthew Ho, they entered the front lobby through a side door in an attempt to make an arrest.

As they approached, the man started to pull the weapon from his front pocket, leading to a struggle for the weapon. The man was arrested and charged.

May

While conducting an investigation into a hotel room theft in the summer of 2013, Detective Kevin White, along with Constables Brian Riggs, John Maciek, Jason Leal, Tracey Hutchings and Shane Murphy, discovered that the guest’s wallet, containing his credit cards and room key displaying the hotel’s name and room number, were stolen while he was dining at a local restaurant.

Determining that the credit cards were fraudulently used to purchase expensive items and at ATMs to withdraw cash, the 52 Division officers identified the suspects and determined  that they had stolen other victims’ wallets at high-end restaurants and bars and used the credit cards to make expensive purchases totaling over a million dollars.

After a vehicle licence plate was identified as possibly belonging to one of the suspects, and a warrant was issued for their arrest, the suspects were captured shortly after committing a theft at a restaurant on May 7, 2014.

A total of 400 charges were laid against them.

June

Responding to a TTC bus operator call that a distraught woman was sitting on a bridge ledge over a highway, Constables Keith Harrison and Danny Mavrou were unsuccessful in their attempts to engage the victim in conversation when they arrived on the scene.

It was obvious that the woman had no intention of complying with the officers’ commands and, with concerns for her safety growing, the 54 Division officers, along with the TTC operator, approached the woman cautiously until they could coordinate pulling her from the ledge, made slippery from a recent downpour.

July

While at the scene of a triple homicide, Constable Joseph McMahon took a phone call from a man claiming that he was involved in the murders. The man provided the officer with his location, but he was not there when Constables Shafiq Vayani and Jermaine Watt showed up.

Using the Service’s database, the 22 Division officers were able to ascertain a location where the suspect had been investigated in the past. They found him at that location covered in blood and brandishing a knife.

When McMahon arrived at the location, the suspect told him he had committed the murders and that he had no reason to live. The officer engaged the suspect in conversation and, after diverting his attention away from the knife which he had dropped, tackled him and made the arrest.

August

Staff Sergeant Glen Dewling, Sergeants Raymond Direnzo and Stephen Woodhouse and Constable Joseph McMahon were on foot patrol in the Yonge & Dundas St. E. area during last year’s Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival when they received a call that two men were fighting in nearby Dundas Square.

When they arrived on the scene and tried to break up the fight, Woodhouse was stabbed in the back of the right hand by one of the men, but kept control of the man until the other officers could make the arrest. Woodhouse received five stitches to close the wound.


September

Responding to a call that a woman was attacked and had her phone stolen, Constable Diane Hibbits, of 14 Division, spotted a man fitting the suspect’s description the nearby area who appeared to be following another woman. While questioning him, the man fled on foot but she was able to arrest him after a brief foot pursuit. A large butcher knife and cell phone were located in the area and the suspect later confessed that he was armed with the knife.

Further investigations revealed that two other men – who were arrested – were involved.

October

While in the crowded Eaton Centre food court last October, Constable Michael Reeves saw a man being pursued by a food chain employee, demanding the return of a stolen donation box. When the suspect pulled out a pair of scissors and attempted to stab the employee, Reeves -- who was on break from court at Old City Hall and was not in uniform – intervened.

Demanding that the suspect drop the scissors after pulling his revolver, the man reacted by attempting to stab the officer who – in a split second – grabbed his elbow while attempting to re-holster his weapon.

Reeves subdued the suspect after a brief struggle.

November

In 2013, Project Heat was established following several arsons across the city.

While on patrol, Constables Clinton Ryan and Stuart Ogg of 14 Division spotted a vehicle matching the description of a white vehicle operated by two males who were suspects.

Constables Timothy Trotter and Sean Bowers stopped the vehicle and Constables Kaine Mildenberger and Randeep Chhinzer located a home-made pipe bomb inside the vehicle.

The men were arrested and the bomb squad detonated the device.

December

Constables Bill Peterson and Jeff Wesley were on general patrol in 51 Division when they received information that a man was planning to throw himself over a bridge. When they arrived on the scene, they found him sitting on a large post with his legs dangling over the end.

As the man attempted to slide off the bridge, Peterson snatched him from behind in a bear hug. With the victim suspended over the side of the bridge, and Peterson holding him as he struggled to free himself, Wesley grabbed his partner’s ankles to protect him from falling over the edge. After a short struggle, the officers managed to pull the man to safety.

A woman shakes hands with another woman in a line of TPS officers
Finance and Business Management Director Sandra Califaretti is congratulated for her nominations for the Business Excellence Award by Human Resources Director Jeanette May

Business Excellence Award Nominees:

Paid Duty Review

Manager Lermy Ramos and Director Sandra Califaretti led a review of the Service's Paid Duty System leading to the introduction of an automated system saving over $2 million in manual distribution and human resources costs.

Test cases and controls were rolled out during the implementation phase and suggestions were incorporated. Every member of the team performed their roles under the new system knowing that the system change would lead to enhanced officer and customer engagement.

Facilities Management Replacement Project 

Commencing in 2003 Facilities Management undertook the development, design, construction and project management of seven major facility replacement projects resulting in many awards, including the Ontario Association of Architects Design Excellence Award, the Ontario Builders Award, People’s Choice Award (Architecture), Canadian Urban Institute Design Award, Business Excellence Award and the American Institute of Architecture (Justice) Design Award. 

Facilities Management has pioneered and adopted a number of innovative methodologies such as a disaster recovery construction methodology, the use of geothermal heating/cooling systems, LEED standards compliance and the integrated facility security system. All team members have contributed to the improvements made during the period spanning from the years 2003-2013.

Manager Enrico Pera and Director Sandra Califaretti were nominated for the Business Excellence Award.


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