A trio of local police officers have been recognized for their bravery.
Belleville police constables Dan Joly and Corey McGee along with Prince Edward OPP constable William Barber were among 15 officers awarded the Ontario Medal for Police Bravery Thursday evening at a ceremony in Toronto.
Joly and McGee were honoured for their courageous and heroic actions in separate incidents in Belleville last year.
“Constable Dan Joly was patrolling in a marked cruiser on the afternoon of September 25, 2015 when he was flagged down by a citizen and directed to a house fire in a residential area.,” Inspector Sherri Meeks stated in a press release Friday. Joly learned that a resident in one of the units was still inside and refusing to come out.”
The fire department had not yet been called and Constable Joly ran into the building, located the woman, and directed her to safety. He then noticed a female resident of another unit on a landing at the side of the building with her two young children. He ran up the stairwell, grabbed one of the children, and carried him to safety. He then realized the woman had gone back into her apartment to get the family dog. He once again ran up the stairwell and led the woman and her child and dog to safety, the frightened animal biting him on the wrist during the process. According to the Belleville Fire Department, the fire would have been well advanced when Joly entered the building and the environment within the structure would have been extremely dangerous with thick black smoke billowing out of the doorway and windows. They further stated that there would have been a low likelihood of survival, even with very short exposure times. Constable Joly’s quick action and calmness under pressure led to a safe ending for all.
On August 7, 2015 at approximately 7:50 p.m., Constables Corey McGee and his partner were dispatched to the home of a suicidal man. The house was empty by the time the officers arrived. They learned from the communications centre that he had been spotted on a nearby railway line.
PC McGee saw the man standing on the tracks with a freight train coming in his direction. The constable immediately left his police car and began jogging toward the man without calling for backup, knowing that he had little time before the engine would strike the male.
McGee was initially relieved to see the man step off the track to the side. When he tried to escort him off the track bed, however, he stiffened and refused to leave. With the freight train barreling down on them, McGee estimated that they had two to three seconds before impact, and physically grounded the male off the tracks just as the train sped by.
Constable Corey McGee risked his life that evening to save a suicidal man. The man was taken to a nearby hospital accompanied by his mother.
The award created in 1975, is presented annually by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario to honour police officers who have gone above and beyond to protect and serve their community and whose actions demonstrate outstanding courage.