A pair of Belleville Police Service members have made the shortlist of province-wide finalists for the Police Association of Ontario Hero of the Year Awards.
Every year the award provides the public with an opportunity to nominate and recognize a police officer for going above and beyond the call of duty. One winner in each category will be announced May 17 at a special award ceremony in London.
This year the PAO received 310 nominations across the province. Eight officers within the Quinte region were hailed heroes by community members in March: Belleville Detective Sargeant Ian Jarvis, Detective Constables Mark Abrams and Ann Dempsey, Sgt. Pat Kellar, Constables Bennett and Terri Smith along with Stirling-Rawdon Constable Scott Burke and Centre Hastings OPP constable Alana Deubel.
PAO President and Belleville Police Sgt. Mike Doucette said having six nominations out of the City of Belleville was more than any other police agency in the province. He said having that many nominations and having two finalists is nothing short of fantastic.
“I am very proud of the two finalists for the PAO Police Hero program,” said Sgt. Doucette. Their specific nominations from each citizen were intense and meaningful.”
Sgt. Kellar’s genuine, compassionate and determined nature when investigating traumatic crimes against children had him being hailed a hero. A local child abuse survivor acknowledged Sgt. Kellar for guiding and protecting her as she sought justice against her perpetrator.
A week later, Cst. Bennett was nominated for reuniting a mother and son on Christmas. The family was going through guardianship issues regarding their young grandson and Cst. Bennett was able to intervene on his own time to ensure the little boy could be with his mother on Christmas day. He brought presents and even cooked the family breakfast.
“Our Belleville community has an excellent force in that there are so many individual stories of great work being done by our police officers and civilian staff. I can say based on my own 28 years of police work that there have been and continue to be many “unsung heroes” who work silently in the background to protect and serve our city,” said PAO president Doucette.