A group of Toronto Police officers had the unique opportunity to take centre court and soak in applause from Raptors fans as they were honoured for being named Police Officers of the Month on April 8.
Deputy Chief Jim Ramer, who led the officers onto the court, was proud to be among the officers who represent the work of thousands of other officers.
“The public wants to see a police service where the officers are professional and empathetic, and I think the stories that you will hear demonstrate that and more,” he said, of officers who are being honoured for intensive investigations, community outreach and emergency response.
“I hear stories every day about great police work, but it never ceases to amaze me all the things that these officers have accomplished. Despite having 38 years on the job, I am truly amazed by their work,” he said. “It will be quite difficult to decide who is named police officer of the year.”
Deputy Chief Ramer said he appreciated the support from Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment who hosted the event.
“They are such a partner with the police and the city. For them to present us with an opportunity to honour the men and women for all the work that they do, I think it’s terrific of them to do,” Ramer said.
Constable Michael Avelar said he was overwhelmed by the fans’ response.
“It was really exciting. It’s nice to know that people do care what we’re doing. And standing at centre court and getting that ovation, I could hear everyone talking about it as we were walking back. It was very cool,” said the officer, who was nominated for Police Officer of the Year for putting himself between a woman being mauled by three dogs. He fired sock rounds to disperse the animals.
“I just did what I thought I had to do,” he said. “For the officers here, it’s not about doing good work, it’s just doing what we think is the right thing to do.”
Constable David McCormack, among a group of officers nominated for their outreach to the homeless Aboriginal community, said it is humbling to be honoured for work that officers do every day.
“I was very surprised to be nominated. It’s an honour to be recognized for trying to reach out to communities and be innovative in unorthodox ways,” he said. “All the officers I’ve had the honour to work with are always looking for ways to engage the community to better work with and serve the public.”
MLSE President & CEO Michael Friisdahl said the Toronto Police are a crucial partner with his organization and a city builder.
“We want to recognize what the Toronto Police do every day, not just for us, our Air Canada Centre, our BMO field and other venues, but for the entire city. It’s such a privilege for us to host the Toronto Police here tonight,” Friisdahl said. “When you go out during the game, the officers felt the appreciation that we feel as an organization and also how our fans feel about them.”
The 51st annual Police Officer of the Year Award will be held at the Toronto Region Board of Trade on May 15.