On October 4th, 2018, eight winners were celebrated at the Surrey Board of Trade’s 22nd Annual Surrey Police Officer of the Year Awards Dinner.
“Congratulations to Inspector Wendy Mehat for being named the 22nd Surrey Police Officer of the Year, nominated by the community, for her unwavering commitment to public safety in Surrey and for her community collaborations,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
Inspector Mehat has over 18 years of experience with the RCMP. She has worked in federal organized crime units and with the Surrey RCMP’s Professional Standards Unit, before coming back to a “community” position in Surrey. Inspector Mehat was the BC RCMP recipient of ‘The Times of Canada Excellence in Public Service Award 2017’. In 2002, Mehat received recognition with a Surrey RCMP Detachment Commendation Award for her contributions to public safety in Surrey as well as an Award of Meritorious Service chosen by representatives from the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police and the police services division of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Mehat was promoted to Inspector earlier this year and has contributed towards reducing crime and enhanced community safety and encouraging others to action through new initiatives such as ‘Car Yankee 30’ and cultural training projects.
“The 22nd Surrey Police Officer of the Year Awards Dinner recognized the Surrey RCMP, its volunteers, municipal employees and business community collaborations – it was a full room full of hero’s last night.”
The evening was markedly poignant especially in light of recent local election campaigns and community conversations questioning the work of the Surrey RCMP.
“Hearing the amazing, unique work of the Surrey RCMP underscored their commitment to Surrey. There is no other city in Canada that has this recognition evening and community collaborations. We all have a role in public safety.”
Winners in other award categories were:
POLICE OFFICER OF THE YEAR AWARD- NOMINATED BY PEERS – Constable Aaron Labrum
Constable Labrum established an outer perimeter policing program around 135A Street in Surrey to establish a safety zone for the vulnerable. This resulted in proactive patrols being conducted on drug dealers trying to attend the strip. With the City of Surrey and BC Housing Corp, Constable Labrum was involved in the review and planning to dismantle the “Surrey Strip” on 135A St, while working to ensure the success of the transitional accommodations and its feeding program. Labrum participates in many community projects, including food drives, the Surrey Children’s Festival, and the Keian’s Toy Drive. Constable Labrum has been a police officer for the past 8 years in Surrey and has worked on approximately 7000 files. Constable Labrum continues to lead the team with Immediate Roadside Prohibitions (IRP) and has been the recipient of many Alexa team honors.
ARNOLD SILZER COMMUNITY POLICING INITIATIVE AWARD – Sergeant Neil Kennedy
As Youth NCO for the past 4 years, Sgt. Neil Kennedy’s contributions regularly dominate the “weekly successes” bulletin. He re-envisioned the Bike section into a foot and bike oriented enforcement team, developed the Mini Blue and Hi Five campaigns, and also increased the Code Blue program. He strategically partnered with Greater Vancouver Big Brothers to start the In-School Mentor program in Surrey and introduced the BBGV “Game On” program to address the increasing WRAP Around program waitlist in partnership with the School District. Not only was he instrumental in ensuring that every SRO participated in the Big Brothers in school mentorship program, he was recognized by Big Brothers with the 2017 Cecil S. Walker Award for his outstanding contributions. Sgt. Kennedy rebuilt the Youth section into one of the largest Youth sections in Canada, running a host of value laden programs.
POLICE AND BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP AWARD – Super Save Group
Super Save Group has taken a proactive approach to combating fraud and identity theft in Surrey. By partnering with the Surrey RCMP and the Surrey Food Bank, Super Save has had a significant impact in the community with annual Shred-A-Thons. Super Save Group donates the use of their trucks and drivers at Shred-A-Thons throughout Surrey. They have contributed their services to over 17 shreds since 2016, consisting of over 70 hours of donated time. People line up prior to the event to make sure they are able to dispose their personal documents in a safe and secure manner. This event encourages residents to safeguard their personal information. These events raise $36,726.19 and 6,188 lbs of food for the Surrey Food Bank.
MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR AWARD – Craig Monro
Throughout his 17-year tenure with the Youth Intervention Program, Craig Monro has provided counselling to thousands of vulnerable youth and families. He has partnered with other professionals in the community such as the Surrey Fire Service plus Child and Youth Mental Health to identify service gaps for high-risk crime offenders. When the Firesetter Intervention Program was initiated, Craig became the point person to counsel fire-setting youth in Surrey. After this program discontinued, Craig kept the heart of it alive by continuing to apply assessment tools and education to fire-setting clients. Recognizing there was a waitlist for younger youth committing sexual offences to access appropriate services, Craig became a member of the Sexual Health Networking group and learned how to best support and engage youth committing sexual offences. Craig’s leadership has created a bridge for youth and families to address these behaviours before more specialized treatment is needed
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD – Bill Ingram
Bill was originally a part of the Surrey RCMP Auxiliary Program and opted to join as a Surrey RCMP Volunteer until the program gets underway. Bill has been assisting Community Program Coordinators with training new Surrey RCMP volunteers. He always offers to accompany them on the Speed Watch, Lock Out Auto Crime and generally acts as a role model to new and existing volunteers. Bill has contributed over 500 hours since joining the team in 2017 and has recovered almost half a dozen stolen vehicles through the Stolen Auto Recovery program. He is always willing to re-schedule and accommodate any type of new training or shift deployments and is incredibly flexible in his shift schedule, often taking on extra tasks. Bill’s participation at community events helps to inspire the new recruits and serves as an example of what is required of volunteers during shift deployments.
RCMP AUXILIARY OF THE YEAR AWARD – RCMP Auxiliary Doyle Willett
Auxiliary Doyle Willett commenced training as an auxiliary constable in Fall 2005. Since his appointment, Doyle has volunteered over 3,700 hours to assist in crime reduction in Surrey. He has participated in numerous community events, such as Vaisakhi, Cloverdale Rodeo, Canada Day and Remembrance Day celebrations. While the minimum requirement for auxiliaries is 160 hours, Willett regularly averages over 308 hours per year, and in 2017 he contributed more than 500 hours. Since 2007, Auxiliary Willett has been coordinating the Surrey A/Cst Coastal Watch Program and has assisted with the training of new classes, the Annual Awards Night and class graduation ceremonies. Willett also initiated the Outreach Program at District 1 by teaching martial arts to youth assist in their development of self confidence.
POLICE TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD – Police Mental Health Liaison (Car 67)
The Surrey RCMP Police Mental Health Intervention Unit (PMHIU) – Car 67 program is a partnership with the Fraser Health Authority. A trained police officer works alongside a Mental Health Nurse to provide specialized police response in situations where mental illness is a significant factor. This partnership has been successfully running in Surrey for 14 years. It provides both an enhanced police response together with a medical/mental health component that is both informed and effective in situations involving significant mental health issues. The team assists in situations where there is a present mental health crisis, providing on scene intervention, assessment, and facilitating access to appropriate care either pursuant to the Mental Health Act or on a voluntary basis. In less acute situations, the Car 67 team provides consultation services to police officers and clients that can work in partnership with PMHIU for the administration of short and long term case management plans.