Neighbourhood Officers Help Man in Crisis

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 8 a.m. March 14, 2019

Const. Sean Forrest was on duty on December 13 when he received a radio call for someone rappelling from the 10th floor of an apartment building at 30 Gordonridge Place in 41 Division.

A woman and man in TPS uniform
Neighbourhood Officers Constables Sean Forrest and Tara Stedman-Smith helped a man in crisis tin their Kennedy Park neighbourhood

“When I got there, I could see the rope hanging down,” he recalled.

When Forrest and other officers located the unit, they found the door slightly ajar.

“We had to call the Fire department because there were 5 locks on the door,” he pointed out. “They had to cut the locks. When we got in, the place was clean and nothing seemed suspicious.”

It was almost a week later before Forrest and his partner, Const. Tara Stedman-Smith, who are Neighbourhood Officers assigned to Kennedy Park, were able to locate the occupant after speaking with community paramedics working out of the Midland Ave. and Danforth Rd. area apartment. The officers, who are assigned full-time to the area, wanted to ensure the rappelling incident wasn’t repeated.

“When we knocked on the door, we heard a male voice inside the unit,” said Forrest. “He was hesitant at first to open the door, but after speaking to him for a while, he relented and unlocked the five chains. He opened the door slightly, but was still hesitant in letting us into his unit.”

On gaining access, the officers found the man was in a state of paranoia.

“There was no food in the fridge, no bed to sleep on, clothes in a bathtub full of dirty water, money hidden throughout his unit and a cellphone in the freezer wrapped in multiple layers of tinfoil and zip lock bags.”

The officers also observed his left arm was in a handmade sling.

“The arm was broken,” said Forrest. “It seemed that while rappelling down in a makeshift harness, he slipped and hit the arm on a balcony. His body was also black and blue from the waist down.”

The senior was transported to hospital for treatment.

“The paramedics told us that if we didn’t show up at the building on that day, he would have declined drastically because of the sepsis,” said Forrest.

Forrest and Stedman-Smith are part of the Enhanced Neighbourhood Officer program rolled out on October 1.

The officers get to know the residents and help to identify and address the needs of that area.

“We are showing our presence daily and getting to know everyone in the three buildings in the complex,” said Stedman-Smith. “We have been to a few community meetings that have been well attended and the residents are happy to see our presence. They say they feel safe with us here.”

In the last year, there has been two homicides in the community.

“There’s a lot of drug dealing and problems caused by non-residents coming here and gaining access to the buildings,” added Stedman-Smith. “However, we are getting a lot of information and hoping to get the people that are causing trouble and are not from here out and make this a safe place for everyone.” 

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