The 21st Police Officer of the Year Awards were handed out Thursday (Oct. 5).
Organizers say the awards recognize “the tremendous work of businesses and the Surrey RCMP Detachment, through their exemplary service and commitment to making Surrey a safer place to live and do business.”
Hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade, this year’s event was held at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel.
“This event is about hope,” states the Surrey Board of Trade’s website. “It is about working together to make a difference to Surrey. It is about celebrating our collaborative efforts and recognizing the hard work of our Surrey RCMP.”
The winners are as follows (blurbs from the SBOT):
ARNOLD SILZER COMMUNITY POLICING INITIATIVE AWARD
The Surrey Outreach Team members, a team composed of By-law officers and RCMP members has been to develop integrated strategies to address crime in a holistic manner in the 135A Street area over the past 8 months. This has been achieved with a combination of community engagement, crime prevention initiatives and crime reduction strategies that have greatly impacted the local area. Created also to address the deaths that have been caused by the fentanyl crisis, the SOT is working diligently, sometimes under the harshest conditions, to ensure a difficult balance between the needs of the vulnerable on 135A Street and the protection of the community at large. The SOT has enhanced communication between the police, the community, Fraser Health and all the local service providers, which are all trying to provide assistance to the most vulnerable of our society.
POLICE TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD
The Youth Section acts as a central liaison point for youth files within the Surrey RCMP. Through education and collaboration, the Youth Intervention Program has observed a 50% increase in referrals and the Restorative Justice Program has experienced a 70% increase. As a result, many more victims, youth, and families are able to access the support they need. In May 2016, the Youth Section collaborated with other Detachment personnel to pilot the innovative Surrey RCMP Parent Helpline. Using this Helpline, community members can proactively request police involvement, including a home visit from a Youth Section member, to form a plan to guide their children away from criminality. As a result, numerous Surrey families have been able to connect with counseling and mentorship before having negative contact with the police. RCMP leadership has taken notice of the positive work being done and has approved the expansion of the Youth Section to allow it to continue to flourish in prevention, intervention, education, and enforcement efforts.
POLICE AND BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP AWARD
Stephen Boyd’s contribution, perseverance, and leadership have enabled him to successfully run the RCMP initiative, ‘Think of Me’ (TOM), a program that educates students and motorists about the importance of safety within school zones. Stephen organized and promoted this program with schoolteachers and informed parents of the program through school newsletters. His understanding and passion of safe driving motivated the entire organizing team. Without his support and organization, the program would not be the success it is today. Stephen is an active player in bringing to life the vision of raising the profile of the Surrey’s RCMP’s positive community engagement through the TOM program.
MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR AWARD
In December 2016, Surrey RCMP embarked on a complex theft investigation, where approximately $500,000 was stolen. Amanda Schenk was assigned to the Economic Crime Unit (ECU) file in March 2017 to assist with mapping and the analysis of phone records. At the time, investigators did not have enough evidence to pursue charges against possible suspects. Amanda analyzed thousands of phone records and identified patterns and trends. Her analytical findings rapidly advanced the investigation, allowing the investigators to focus on a number of suspects. The work produced by Ms. Schenk on this investigation demonstrated a strong partnership between Municipal Staff and the RCMP. Amanda is consistently requested for by members and is frequently brought in to assist with complex investigations where she continues to produce outstanding work and support to the Surrey Crime Analysis Section.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD
James Ram became a volunteer with the City of Surrey in September of 2016. Since then, James has volunteered 200 hours and remains incredibly active and engaged in the volunteer program. James has been the main point of contact for weekend engagement events and lead in the organization and execution of both the Surrey RCMP Open House and Cloverdale Rodeo Cone Zone Events. James attended all the shifts over the Rodeo weekend and coordinated all of the volunteer shifts and responsibilities. James carries himself with a high level of professionalism, acts as a role model for other volunteers and demonstrates all the City of Surrey core values. James has shown incredible heart, dedication, and commitment to the City of Surrey and the Surrey RCMP.
AUXILIARY CONSTABLE OF THE YEAR AWARD
Auxiliary Constable Karen Summers has been a member of the auxiliary team for the past 25 years. She works closely with Surrey RCMP District offices and steps forward to volunteer at a variety of community events. Karen brings great enthusiasm and passion for community safety to each project. She is warm and approachable and is always willing to help others out with a smile. Her notable projects include Project SWOOP, an ICBC partnered-program which multiple community agencies work together to educate and enforce safe driving around Surrey. Karen was quite willing to continue her participation in the auxiliary program, despite new restrictions, and was an asset to the team in Surrey. Her commitment and dedication are unparalleled, and even after 25 years, her service is unwavering.
POLICE OFFICER OF THE YEAR AWARD – NOMINATED BY PEERS
Sergeant Heather Matthew is the NCO in charge of the Vulnerable Persons Section, which contains the Police Units, Missing Persons, Integrated Mental Health Intervention, and Integrated Domestic Violence. She supervises 25 members, which include police officers and civilian employees. Sgt. Matthew is an outstanding example of a supervisor. She brings to every situation a calm sense of leadership and provides clear direction. Sgt. Matthew provides clear direction and delivers constructive feedback to her teams that is always well received. Sgt. Matthew was recently the NCO in charge of the Integrated Domestic Violence Unit, where she created an environment of innovation. Under her direction, the Domestic Violence Unit grew from 4 to 14 members and every member was made to feel welcome and was always encouraged to contribute.
POLICE OFFICER OF THE YEAR AWARD – NOMINATED BY COMMUNITY
Sergeant Winston Shorey is a team player that embraces new technology and supports the Cloverdale BIA email information-sharing program called “Heads Up”. He has also been informing the community on new ways to report crime, by teaching them to use a new RCMP Smartphone App. Sgt Shorey consistently updates the public through social media with timely information and always addresses issues as they occur. Winston works collaboratively with members of the community and the fire department to promote safety and he and his crew can be found at all Cloverdale events like the Rodeo, various parades, car shows, and community festivals like Market Days, the Chili cook-off and Bed Races. He visits a great number of businesses and members in the community through outreach programs and coffee shop meetings and always has a positive outlook on policing and keeping Cloverdale safe.