The Police Association of Ontario has selected two winners and recognized four other officers including two from Belleville for their exemplary service and commitment to policing.
The second annual Police Services Hero of the Year awards were awarded at the PAO Annual General Meeting in London Wednesday night.
Belleville Sergeant Pat Kellar took home runner up in the ‘On Duty Difference Maker’ category and Constable Todd Bennett received the runner up nod in the ‘Community Role Model’ class. Sudbury Detective Constable Ryan Johnson and Windsor Constable Cealia Gagnon received the top hero awards. Port Hope Constable Christopher Anderson (on duty difference maker) and Chatham Constable Amy Finn (community role model) were also recognized. The award is given to members of the Association of Ontario who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and best exemplify the qualities of policing professionals in Ontario. This year there were 310 members nominated across the province with eight from the Quinte area.
Sergeant Kellar’s nominator was a childhood abuse survivor on the brink of suicide. Sgt. Kellar was recognized for guiding and protecting her as she sought justice against her perpetrator. She said she believes she wouldn’t have made it through without Sgt. Kellar’s guidance through his genuine and compassionate nature.
Constable Bennett received two nominations. One for reuniting a mother and son on Christmas who were experiencing guardianship issues. He showed up Christmas day with presents and cooked breakfast so the family could spend the holiday together. His second nomination came from a local mom who expressed how Constable Bennett has left a lasting impression on her young daughter for going out of his way to give her a friendly wave and teddy bear named Finn who is now a treasured companion.
“Constable Bennett and Sergeant Kellar were quite humble last night as they were congratulated by many of those in attendance at the PAO AGM celebratory awards dinner,” said local PAO president and Belleville Sergeant Mike Doucette. “I was particularly proud as I spoke with Minister Lalonde as she kindly expressed to my members her thanks for their service to the community. Having two officers in the finalist list of six from 310 nominations across the province speaks to the caliber of all the police and civilian staff that we have here in Belleville.”