Belleville Police Sergeant Pat Kellar’s genuine, compassionate and determined nature when investigating traumatic crimes against children has him being hailed a hero.
A local child abuse survivor is acknowledging Sgt. Kellar for guiding and protecting her as she sought justice against her perpetrator.
“At the time (2014) Detective Constable Kellar was assigned to my case, I was on the brink of suicide,” the woman wrote in her nomination for the Police Association of Ontario Hero of the Year Award.
The award provides the public with an opportunity to nominate and recognize a police officer for going above and beyond the call of duty.
“Detective Constable Kellar instantly gained my trust and assured me he would work doggedly to pursue justice for me. Training can provide the tools but it takes a very special soul to be able to break through to someone who trusts no one and feels completely shamed and abandoned. Detective Constable Kellar made me feel protected.”
Kellar who has been with the BPS for 16 years was promoted from the major crimes unit to Sergeant in 2016 and specializes in crimes against children.
She credited Sgt. Kellar for always being available to discuss her concerns and co-ordinating her contact with Victim Protection Staff.
“I truly believe I would not have made it through the trial without his guidance,” she wrote. “He was genuine and compassionate and I think the first person who took the time to listen to me and not cast doubt upon my claims.”
The historical case of child abuse went before the courts in 2014 and didn’t result in a conviction.
“I am recovering with the help of counselling and a few very close friends, but not a day goes by without my recalling the feeling of being protected by someone who didn’t have to say a word,” she admitted. It has and will be a life long struggle to move on. In my darkest moments I continue to draw on Detective Constable Kellar’s energy. It is hard to put into words how much that one person can change a life but I thank God that he could provide this unconditional safety that my family could not.”
“Hero is a strong word,” said a very humble Kellar. “I’m just happy to be able to have that great of an impact on someone’s life,” said Sgt. Kellar. “It’s not very often that I can leave a positive impact with a victim of crime. I’m happy I was able to do that in this case.”
For some people just telling their story and having someone believe them can help them move on and rebuild their life Kellar explained.
“She was in a very difficult time in her life,” he disclosed. “I absolutely believed what she had told me and I was able to bring that forward to the courts.”
Recalling the case Belleville Detective Staff Sargent Kris Patterson said she remembered how emotional it was because of the information provided by the victim.
“I know Pat worked extremely hard on this like he does all of his cases,” Patterson said. “This one resonated with him because of her needs and fears.”
Patterson described how having compassionate non-judgmental attitude is vital in developing open communication and trust.
“It’s beyond basic rapport,” she said. “It is having that trust where they can divulge something so traumatic from their past. It is not an easy task. Pat is tenacious and committed to learning the truth. He gives people from both sides the opportunity to tell their story. Not everyone has it within them to handle these cases especially ones involving children. Pat is one of the few able to persevere and complete those investigations for the sake of the victim. It can be emotionally draining. You have to learn how to manage those feelings and emotions, which he has.”
“It is emotionally challenging for anyone involved in these types of investigations,” Kellar acknowledged. “Unfortunately this case did not have a positive outcome in court. Although the victim in this case was happy and was able to rebuild her life as a result of coming forward and being able to tell her story.”
Kellar is the second Belleville police officer to be nominated this year. Detective Constable Mark Abrams was nominated in February. Nominations close on March 19.