Commendations for TPS, Community
In his 23 years on the job, Sergeant Dean Rodney has been involved in physical confrontations when responding to emergencies and trying to make arrests.
“This comes with the work you do,” he said, of having to fend off an assault.
Facing a suspect with a knife in a Scarborough shopping mall was one of the more challenging situations Rodney has encountered.
On March 23, 2023, he responded to a call for a man with a knife acting irrationally and threatening passersby.
While trying to calm the man down, the suspect complied to the officer’s orders to put his hands up.
As he got closer to try to effect an arrest, the man kicked the 41 Division officer in his left knee.
Security officer Earl Samuel, who called 9-1-1, intervened after Rodney was assaulted.
“He was standing directly behind the suspect and when he saw what had happened to me, he jumped in and tackled the suspect to the ground to assist with the arrest,” said Rodney.
While on the ground, the man – who struggled with the officer who was trying to handcuff him – took out a six-inch bladed knife from his waist. He was disarmed and taken into custody.
In recognition of their bravery and quick thinking, he and Campbell were the recipients of a Commendation and Community Member Award respectively at the Toronto Police Service Award ceremony on September 20 at the Toronto Police College.
“We don’t do this job for recognition,” said Rodney. “We respond to calls daily to help people. Sometimes, things go sideways in a hurry, especially when weapons are involved, and you have to rely on your training.”
A total of 13 awards, the majority for teamwork, were presented to over 113 individuals, both Toronto Police Service and community members.
Since 2012, Toronto Police members have raised over $300,000 to support men’s health during the annual Movember campaign.
Movember is an annual month-long fundraising event where participants grow moustaches or take pledges over the course of the month of November to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other men’s health issues.
Detective Sergeant Scott Bradbury has led the Toronto Police Follicle Force team for the last 12 years. He joined the Movember campaign several years ago after his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer
Follicle Force has been one of the most successful police teams globally raising over $300,000 through sponsorships of their staches.
To recognize their ongoing commitment to this campaign, Bradbury, Sergeant Kristopher McCarthy, Martin Blake, Brian Callanan, Kevin Corrigan, Pete Grande, Mila Cormack and Shane De Merchant were presented with the Robert Qualtrough Memorial Award.
Qualtrough, who served with distinction and honour during his 34 years with Canada’s largest municipal police organization, died in October 2014.
Established seven years ago, the award is presented annually to Service and community members who have demonstrated excellence and leadership through their participation in an innovative and effective police-community partnership initiative
“This award is significant because it is in the name of someone who made a very meaningful contribution to policing in this city and it recognizes a team that is dedicated to saving the lives of men,” said Blake, a videographer in the Corporate Communications Video Production Section. “We have progressed over the years to the point where we challenge other Services. This is a great way for first responders to work together to talk about mental and other health issues that men might be afraid to talk about or seek medical help.”
The Movember Foundation is the largest global men's health charity and aims to stop men dying too young and to help men live happier, healthier, longer lives.
The Chief of Police Excellence Award was presented to Constables Sheik Fyzul, Farzhad Ghotbi and Murtaza and Mustafa Popalzai.
After a 7.8 earthquake struck southern and central Turkey and northern and western Syria, causing over 55,000 deaths in the two countries on February 6, 2023, Ghotbi and Mustafa Popalzai connected with Fyzul, a 32 Division Neighbourhood Community Officer, whose Turkish-born wife has family residing in the transcontinental country.
Six Divisions – 51, 53, 43, 32, 31, and 41 -- along with Headquarters, the Ontario Provincial Police Wellington County, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Oshawa’s Sheriff Office also participated in the donation drive.
Through collaboration with the Turkish Federation, the Turkish Consulate in Toronto and other Turkish organizations, they put together a two-week donation drive that raised nearly $112,000 worth of items, including tents, winter jackets and boots, baby formula, diapers, first-aid supplies, flashlights and other clothing.
With assistance from community members Lidia and Meryem Akar, Sokyan and Vildan Balverdi and Fareedah Lida, the officers were able to reach out to local and overseas corporations and circulate flyers on social media to secure seven donation drop-off locations and three warehouses.
The quartet received Community Member Awards.
“Their work was stellar,” said Popalzai. “They connected us with their communities and other prominent people in Scarborough and the Greater Toronto Area to get this mission accomplished in two weeks. We could not have done that in such a short time without their support.”
In August 2021, Ghotbi and Popalzai started Project Hope to support thousands of people who came to Canada with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.
Both officers came to Canada as refugees – Ghotbi from Iran and Popalzai from Afghanistan.
Chief Administrative Officer Svina Dhaliwal spoke on behalf of the TPS Senior Command at the awards recognizing uniform and civilian members who have demonstrated innovation, dedication and compassion.
“Each and everyone one of you is being rewarded because of your positive actions that have enhanced the quality of lives for residents in the city,” she said. “I know you would all say you were just doing your job. This is however far more than that. It is about going above and beyond. We are celebrating you this evening not because you were doing your job. It is the way you did it.”
Toronto Police Services Board Chair Ann Morgan said the recipients deserve praise and admiration for their selfless acts of bravery and excellence in the performance of their duties and for their community dedication.
“For our Board, it is important to recognize individuals such as those we are celebrating today whose dedication and heroism make our city a better place,” she noted. “This continues to be a time of important and ongoing collaboration in our city as we work together in partnership with our community, implementing a comprehensive and robust action plan to ensure that policing services are responsive to the needs of the public. Integral to this innovative and dynamic approach is an absolute commitment to excellence. And it is indeed excellence that we celebrate today.”
The Teamwork Award recipients included the Vision Zero Enforcement Team (VZET) that won this year’s Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) Traffic Safety Excellence Award.
To address the growing demands from communities throughout the city to increase road safety and support the Vision Zero Road Safety Plan adopted by the City of Toronto, the Service created the VZET in late 2020.
Comprising 16 Constables utilizing 10 unmarked vehicles, the team focusses on intercepting driving behaviours responsible for the most serious types of collisions across the city.
The recipients were Staff Sergeant Paul Qureshi, Sergeants Clint Stibbe and Brett Moore, Constable Simon Toyne and Peter Sikorski, John Powrie, Janice Helmer, Michele Pagniello, Jayme Prevost, Terry Prevost, Giancarlo Marrelli, Bertrand Dean, Gerard Bayley, George Christou, Terry Emerson, William Gee, Adam Norski and Dominic Seguin.
As a data-driven group, they use statistical data to create a deployment schedule that covers the many communities within Toronto, focusing on areas with increased traffic issues.