The top Mounties of the year have been named at an annual event at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel tonight (Thursday).
The Surrey Board of Trade-hosted event was the 16th annual Police Officer of the Year Awards.
The top awards were given to the following:
• The Police Officer of the Year Award, Nominated by Peers, went to Const. Mark Levesque left), who has become a popular figure in Cloverdale, according to his nomination.
Shortly after he arrived in that district, he introduced himself to the business community and told them if they had concerns, he would make himself available for assistance. Due to his commitment and work ethic, Levesque was able to solve several outstanding theft cases, earning him the respect of his peers.
• The Police Officer of the Year, Nominated by the Community, is Staff-Sgt. Scott Campbell.
Campbell was lauded for making a significant difference in Whalley. According to nominators, his quiet, collaborative approach is already making an impact in the relatively short time he’s been at District 1 (Whalley). He has encouraged individual RCMP members to “adopt-a-business,” meaning they drop in on specific businesses on a regular basis to ensure things are running smoothly.
He also organized and led the first street clean-up, more of which have been organized by community leaders for residential clean-ups and the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association for the business district.
• Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Merril Turpin, a Surrey RCMP District 2 volunteer for the past four years.
He’s highly involved in the Speed Watch Team, making the streets safer. Turpin volunteers double and sometimes triple the expected commitment of an RCMP volunteer. Turpin was cited as having a great attitude and inspiring all around him with his dedication.
• The Auxiliary Constable of the Year Award went to Zynal Sharoom, a Fijian who moved to B.C. in 2003. He is currently working as a collections officer with the Canada Revenue Agency, while working as an Auxiliary Constable with the RCMP.
He volunteered more than 1,000 hours in 2011, assisting at several events, including the Stanley Cup playoffs traffic re-direction, Vaisakhi parade, Canada Day, Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair, and Sikh temple events.
Aside from his regular duties as an uniformed volunteer, Sharoom was a lead organizer, instructor, and mentor for youth aged 16-18 for the 2011 SPURS Program.
• The Arnold Silzer Community Policing Initiative Award was given to the Wire Theft Team. The team, along with stakeholders, continued efforts in lobbying the provincial government to enact provincial legislation to support municipalities in the regulation of scrap metal dealers. Thanks in part to their efforts, on Nov. 4, 2011, during the Provincial Crime Prevention Week, Bill 13, the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act, was introduced.
• The Police and Business Partnership Award went to Jen Temple of Hillcrest Village.
Recently, Hillcrest Village has experienced youth-related nuisance behaviour and public disorder. Temple has worked with police to reduce that activity.
She also supports and participates in the Youth Intervention Program in an effort to address the underlying causes of criminal behaviour. Temple ensures that she is visible to the community, often being on site with security on busy weekends.
• The Municipal Employee of the Year Award went to Brian Aasebo.
As a Youth Intervention Program (YIP) counsellor, Aasebo’s role is to provide an alternative to the justice system for teens. Typically YIP counsellors do this by speaking with youth and with their parents to find solutions to underlying issues with the individual or family. Through his own initiative, Aasebo facilitated three free parent information sessions in both the Cloverdale and Newton areas. These two-hour sessions offered parents an opportunity to learn how to “speak teen.”
Aasebo was also a part of the group that helped to raise awareness on the issue of bullying in Surrey by taking part in the development of the 2012 Anti-Bullying Day Film Contest.
• The Police Team Award goes to the RCMP Child Abuse and Sexual Offence Unit (CASO).
The CASO unit has been instrumental in the creation of Sophie’s Place – a Child Advocacy Centre for collaboratively interviewing child victims of physical and sexual abuse. CASO has partnered with several other community agencies to develop such a centre in Surrey in order to provide the best possible services to children who have been victims of abuse.
Sophie’s Place’s primary goal is to undertake joint interviews, thereby, reducing the number of times a child has to go through that process.
“Every year this ceremony provides us an opportunity to reflect on the high caliber of men and women who commit themselves to policing the City of Surrey. I am very proud of this diverse group of individuals and their dedication to keeping our citizens safe,” said Surrey RCMP Officer in Charge Chief Supt. Bill Fordy.