On his way to a soccer game on July 3, 2014, at around 7.55 p.m., Constable Marc Joseph was about to merge onto the 401, when he noticed several stationary vehicles, with their hazard lights flashing, on the shoulder of the busy highway.
Though off-duty at the time, he slowed down to see what was happening.
“I saw what looked like a young woman sitting on the railing of the bridge overlooking the DVP,” said Joseph. “I came out of my vehicle, identified myself as an off-duty officer and asked some bystanders to call 9-1-1. I relayed this information to them in a way that I wouldn’t alert the young woman who was obviously in distress.”
Fearing that she might jump at any time, Joseph snuck up behind the woman and grabbed her.
“She was looking down on the highway, so she didn’t see me approaching,” he said. “I was able to pull her back over the bridge and hold on to her until 33 Division officers arrived and took over.”
Joseph recounted a conversation he had with the woman before the officers showed up to take her to North York General Hospital.
“I guess she was in her 20s, and she told me she was having some personal issues and didn’t want to live anymore,” he noted. “I was just happy I was there at moment to help her. I guess I was in the right place at the right time.”
Joseph was among several Toronto Police Service members honoured by St. John’s Ambulance for helping to save lives.
“I am not someone who does things for the recognition, but this award means a lot because I was able to thwart the efforts of someone who was trying to end their life at a young age,” he said.
Lanay Browning was having lunch with fellow Court Officer John Hogg when she noticed he was in a bit of discomfort.
“He was a coughing a lot and, when I turned around to see if he was alright, his lips were purple and he was having trouble breathing,” said Browning, who joined the Service 27 years ago.
For the first time, ever, she administered an abdominal thrust – also known as the Heimlich manoeuvre – to try to dislodge a piece of food stuck in Hogg’s throat.
“It didn’t work the first time, but I tried again and was able to get the stuck piece out,” she said.
Superintendent Diane Miller, Court Services unit commander, and Hogg both came to witness Browning receiving her award at May 5 ceremony.
A total of eight court officers were recognized at the event.
“I am so proud of them,” said Miller.