While soaking up the accolades for being selected the 2017 Police Officer of the Year, Constable Kile Blanchard was aware he was surrounded by a skilled and dedicated group of officers who contributed to his success.
The 43 Division officer was honoured at the Toronto Region Board of Trade 51st annual reception on May 15.
During his assignment as a Youth & Family Violence investigator in January 2015, Blanchard received information that a father was sexually assaulting his daughter regularly.
As the investigation unfolded, Blanchard and the victim developed a strong rapport and he worked with various organizations to ensure the victim received the proper support and counselling.
Because of his hard work and dedication, the girl didn’t have to testify in court and the accused pled guilty to the charges.
“The case came to a successful conclusion because it was a team effort,” he said. “I was the case manager, but several other people in my office worked on the case. Not only police officers, but agencies like the Children’s Aid Society and Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre also made contributions. It just goes to show what can be achieved through teamwork.”
Because of the trust the victim put in Blanchard, she returned to disclose further abuse at the hands of another family member who was charged with multiple sexual offences.
“The victim is doing well and she has the proper support structures in place to help her,” said Blanchard.
He arranged for the victim to participate in the Toronto Recreational Outreach Outtripping Program (TROOP) that introduces young people to outdoor life.
“This experience provided the girl with the opportunity to shine and show who she really is,” said Blanchard who is now with the Community Response Unit.
He joined the Service a decade ago and spent two-and-a-half years as a Youth & Family Violence Unit investigator.
“Being a Toronto police officer means everything to me,” said Blanchard, who has spent all 10 years at 43 Division. “Toronto is the only Service I ever applied to, and wanted to serve with, because it’s the largest municipal police service in Canada and there’s an opportunity to serve a wider pool of people.”
Each month, an officer or a group of officers is selected for Police Officer(s) of the Month, based on bravery, humanitarianism, superior investigative work and outstanding police skills.
The Police Officer of the Year is selected by seasoned journalists, community and business members.
Chief Mark Saunders thanked the supporters and said the nominees are all winners.
“Tonight is exceptional because it’s about the men and women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty,” he added. “It’s about those who have exercised bravery and valour.”
Photo by Jason Di Michele