Officer of the Year Staff Sergeant Joseph Matthews paid a courtesy call on Mayor John Tory at City Hall on May 18.
Tory, also on the Toronto Police Services Board, was unable to attend the awards ceremony organized by the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBT) on May 16 but wanted to recognize the work of officers.
Matthews was working a paid duty on August 8, 2015, when the call for the sound of gunshots near the Muzik nightclub came over the radio.
As the officer approached the south side of the nightclub, he saw someone, covered in blood, entering a taxi.
Assigned to 12 Division at the time, he took the victim out of the taxi and rendered First Aid.
While helping the shooting victim and trying to control the crowd, Matthews was punched in the face by a female bystander. That didn’t deter him from his primary concern to keep the victim alive.
Covered in blood, the fearless officer went to the hospital with the critically injured victim who survived.
“This is an incredibly heroic act in the city that arose out of a tragedy,” said Tory. “The officer did the right thing at the right time with what he was trained to do. He set an example and showed people what our police men and women do each and every day.
He set an example and showed people what our police men and women do each and every day
“…There are incidents that are fortunately less tragic and less violent that go on daily. These officers are expected to respond in a manner that is consistent with their training and act with compassion, courage and confidence. That’s why Toronto is such a safe city. Our police officers, just like our first-responders, do a fantastic job daily in protecting people, comforting people and sometimes rescuing people. I see it all the time.”
Chief Mark Saunders and TRBT president Jan De Silva accompanied Matthews on the visit to the Mayor’s office.
“What Detective Sergeant Joe Matthews did is a testament to the great work that the men and women do each and every day,” Saunders said. “There are those rare moments where exceptional things happen and we have our officers, like D/Sgt. Matthews, who step up the plate. It’s not just about doing the job, but having that moral compass that’s built in each and every one of our officers to have an understanding of the environment and do what’s necessary to save lives.”