Recognizing Lifesaving Work

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair

Writer/Photographer

43 Division

Chief Myron Demkiw and the Command team acknowledged 43 Division officers whose outstanding work may have saved the life of an off-duty officer and led to the arrest of four people involved in a robbery and stabbing in Scarborough last December.

“You do such incredible work keeping our city safe,” Demkiw told the officers. “There is accolades all over the place, but what is fundamental is that the frontline divisions are the backbone of this organization. This is where we get our strength. This is where we get our purpose and when I look across this group of people, I can’t help but think about the display of courage that we saw from all of you. I also can’t help but recognize the teamwork that you displayed.”

The ceremony took place at police headquarters on February 21.

Constable Michael Gharibo was among the first officers to arrive to the scene of the robbery at an electronics store December 6.

The off-duty officer had been stabbed in the arm after intervening in the robbery and was losing a significant amount of blood when Gharibo was able to apply the tourniquet.

“When I got inside the door, there was a big pool of blood near the officer who was sitting with a wrap around his wrist,” said Gharibo, who has been a police officer since 2022 and served as a Court Officer for three years prior. “He was bleeding real badly.”

Two police officers shake hands
Chief Demkiw congratulates Constable Michael Gharibo on his lifesaving use of a tourniquet Photo: Ron Fanfair

Superintendent David Rydzik, the 43 Division Unit Commander, praised the quick actions of the responding officer.

“According to paramedics and the doctor at the hospital, that saved the officer’s life,” he said.

The accused – three men and a woman – are now before the courts. They face a total of 40 charges, including robbery with an offensive weapon, kidnapping and the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

“This dedicated team never lost focus or direction,” said Staff Superintendent Shannon Dawson. “They were relentless in their pursuit.”

The investigation was supported by many units, including 41, 42 and 55 Division investigators, Forensic Identification members, Traffic Services, the Emergency Task Force as well as the Ontario Provincial Police and York Regional Police.

One of the men was arrested after allegedly forcing a person at gunpoint into a rental van and causing multiple collisions across the city before being the van was penned in by Emergency Task Force officers.

Last month, the Service began issuing tourniquets to all sworn members and Special Constables following their completion of the Standard First Aid Training program offered at Toronto Police College.

“Having access to this inexpensive yet life saving tool provides members with an essential life-saving tool and will be really important in terms of both member safety as well as public safety,” said Robert Duncan, the Occupational Safety Lead with Toronto Police Service. “Tourniquets will improve the Service’s capacity to respond to a variety of incidents on a day-to-day basis and also enhance the response to large scale and extreme events.”

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