Edmonton, Alberta – RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki joined Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki, Commanding Officer of the Alberta RCMP, in the presentation of the Commissioner’s Commendation Awards to 16 recipients in a private ceremony in Edmonton, on April 14, 2022.
“To meet the high standards and considerable demands of a career in law enforcement takes a special type of person,” said Commissioner Lucki. “It demands extraordinary skill, profound knowledge, outstanding professionalism, and unflinching courage to keep Canadians safe. Each and every one of the award recipients have gone above and beyond the call of duty.”
The Commissioner’s Commendation is the highest internal honour that can be presented to an employee of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Commissioner’s Commendation Awards were initially created to recognize outstanding service by RCMP members and expanded to include more categories and be inclusive of civilian recipients. The following award types were presented at the ceremony:
· Bravery recognizes courage that is demonstrated in the face of extremely dangerous and volatile circumstances beyond what is commonly encountered in routine police work and which poses an imminent threat of personal injury or death. Civilian recipients will have provided outstanding assistance to an RCMP member or to law enforcement at large, while demonstrating outstanding courage and bravery while under hazardous or exceptional conditions.
· Outstanding Service recognizes an individual’s actions that were exceptionally innovative, unique and far beyond that which would be expected from an experienced person doing the same task.
· Volunteer Activities can be awarded to an RCMP employee or a civilian who has demonstrated outstanding and/or exceptionally innovative voluntary activities outside the scope of their regular duties, to the RCMP or community at large, in support of RCMP operations which impact at an interprovincial, national, or international level.
“Across our division, I can attest to the incredible courage, strength, and resilience of our employees in their actions of service for law enforcement every day,” said Deputy Commissioner Zablocki, Commanding Officer of the Alberta RCMP. “The enormous effort, actions of bravery, and service excellence by the award recipients has been a tremendous contribution towards our priorities of safety and well-being in our communities.”
The recipients of the 2022 Commissioner’s Commendation Awards are:
· Ms. Adonus Arlett – Victim Services Unit – Ms. Arlett worked tirelessly with the victims of a particular sexual violence offender who had offences beginning in 2008. She spent countless hours working with each individual and the Federal Crown Counsel. Ms. Arlett was not always compensated, yet freely gave her time, energy, mental fortitude, and the abilities of her trained service dog, “Madison”, to assist the victims and the Crown. Ultimately, largely as a result of the outstanding efforts by Ms. Arlett and “Madison”, the victims testified effectively, the offender was convicted, and the Crown has sought two “Dangerous Offender” designations.
· Corporal James Laronde – Corporal Laronde identified the potential for a central database to gather collision data involving serious injury and fatalities. The computer programs required to build such a robust application are not readily available and are costly. Corporal Laronde spent an estimated 1,000 hours outside of work to develop a highly effective application, called “Collision Notes”, on top of his regular duties. It has been tremendously successful in “K” Division and has since been adopted in three other Divisions.
· Corporal Brian Johannson / Corporal Karl Joseph Mandel / Constable Dow York
In October 2017 there was an incident involving a stolen truck that involved road rage, threats, collision, and a police pursuit, all of which lasted an hour and half and covered well over 100kms. It involved Members from six different detachments and units including police dog services, seven Tire Deflation Device deployments, request for Air Services, two police-initiated vehicle-to-vehicle contacts, and two separate member-involved shootings. Members took actions of exceptional bravery and skill to resolve the incident.
· Corporal Jeffrey Czarnecki / Constable Mark Facendi / Corporal Brandon Tobin / Sergeant Brian Topham / Constable Norman Wong
In March 2018, the suspect in a recent murder in Calgary was spotted driving in the Evansburg RCMP detachment area. Police pursued the armed suspect for more than an hour, with members from Evansburg, Edson, Drayton Valley, Stony Plain and Mayerthorpe detachments involved in the incident. After a successful Tire Deflation Device deployment, the suspect eventually came to a stop. He immediately opened fire on police with a high-powered rifle; in the exchange of gunfire, two members were injured, a number of police vehicles were extensively damaged, and the suspect was killed. Members took actions of exceptional bravery and skill to resolve the incident.
· Constable Garret Dove – In April 2018, two armed suspects from a robbery in Saskatchewan were pursued toward the Alberta border, ending up at a police blockade by Battleford RCMP members, including Constable Dove. During a confrontation, Constable Dove took actions of outstanding courage and quick thinking, helping to resolve the incident. The suspects surrendered and were taken into custody.
· Mr. Montana Kootenay – In June 2019, Mr. Kootenay observed an RCMP member having extreme difficulty fighting with a suspect who was violently resisting arrest, and had an edged weapon and a metal bar. Although the suspect was personally familiar to him, Mr. Kooteney did not hesitate to stop his vehicle and help the member. He helped the member bring the suspect to the ground, then took the edged weapon away and out of reach, while continuing to assist in getting the suspect under control. A large number of other vehicles had driven by, seeing the violent struggle and obvious danger, but no one else had stopped to help. Mr. Kootenay demonstrated outstanding courage in a dangerous and dynamic incident, which posed an imminent threat of grievous harm, personal injury, or death.
· Constable Deanna Hagen – In 2008, Constable Deanna Hagen began volunteering with Ronald McDonald House, a non-profit organization which helps support families of seriously ill or injured children. In November 2015, she created iKare4Kids, using hundreds of hours of her own time, which would provide tablets to families with children receiving major medical care. Since the inception of the charity in 2015, it has grown rapidly. In the first half of 2018, donations to families quadrupled in comparison to all of previous years combined. The charity has now grown to have a board with five members and numerous volunteers at various events. iKare4Kids currently operates only in the Edmonton area, but has intentions to expand to all major centers in Alberta, Western Canada and eventually Canada.
· Ms. Beverley Salomons – Ms. Salomons is the current Canadian President of the Alberta Citizens on Patrol Association (ACOPA). Over the years she has played many roles: patrolling as Citizen on Patrol, being a Communication Director, Vice President, past President, and now in her current role. Over the past 10 years, she has modernized the operation of ACOPA, increasing membership from 1000 to over 2000 volunteers, and growing to 75 Citizens on Patrol groups across the Province. Ms. Salomons established a regular newsletter, and wrote the ACOPA reference manual in partnership with the RCMP. She spent countless hours completing the implementation of the iPatrol app. She was instrumental with the Auto Theft Awareness program, providing education to the public, in conjunction with Alberta Motor Association.
· Mr. Trevor Tychkowsky – During his tenure as the President of the Rural Crime Watch, Mr. Tychkowsky was instrumental in the creation of the Rural Crime Watch website. He recognized the need for improvement within the association; he led the implementation of a strategic plan, to provide a clear direction. He also liaised with the RCMP in renewing a Memorandum of Understanding, and implemented a much-needed partnership with the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Association. Mr. Tychkowsky also revamped the “Wise Owls Program” to better meet the needs of the senior citizens across Alberta, by increasing education and awareness for seniors about fraud prevention.
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