National Police week began in 1970 and is a way for communities to learn about what police do and the services that they provide. On March 8th, VicPD held the annual Honours Ceremony to recognize some of the outstanding work of our officers and support staff.
In total, 41 officers and support staff were recognized. The awards were presented in two categories – the Police Exemplary Service Medal, followed by Chief and Deputy Chief Constables’ Commendations.
The Police Exemplary Service Medal was created in 1983 to recognize the men and women dedicated to preserving Canada’s public safety through long and outstanding service. This honour is conferred by the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, and were presented by Her Honour Janet Austin, the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
These awards are a reflection of the hard work and commitment each of these recipients has made to the department and to the communities of Victoria and Esquimalt. Recipients must have completed 20 years of exemplary police service with one or more recognized Canadian police forces. In total, 11 officers received the award.
At 30 years of service, a bar is awarded to officers who have reached this milestone. At the 2019 Honours Ceremony, three officers were awarded the bar.
Three officers received Chief Constable Commendations including Constable Shaun Juby, Constable Kelsi Yoxall and Sergeant Jonathan Sheldan.
- Sergeant Sheldan received his Commendation for his work ensuring that Constable Ian Jordan would never be forgotten. Sergeant Sheldan took it upon himself to ensure that Constable Jordan’s colleagues kept a lasting connection with their teammate, and was one of the driving forces behind ensuring that Constable Jordan’s service was carried out with the full honours it deserved. The responsibilities and trust that came with such a role were monumental, and something that Sergeant Sheldan took on whole heartedly.
Four officers received the Deputy Chief’s Commendation including Constable Hayley Swann, Retired Detective Constable Mark MacPhail, Detective Constable James Morgan and Detective Constable Phil Richmond.
- Detective MacPhail conducted a lengthy child pornography investigation and found the worst child pornography collection that he had ever seen. The man had fled to the United States and through Constable MacPhail’s dedication, he continued the daunting process of locating the accessed and having him extradited back to Canada. Constable Mark MacPhail received his commendation for his instrumental work in uncovering the true identify of a dangerous and prolific offender, which at the same time ensuring that he faced justice.
- Detectives James Morgan and Phil Richmond, both assigned to the Forensic Identification Section, were tasked with process a significant number of exhibits that were heavily contaminated with biological matter from a homicide scene. Using their initiative and ingenuity, they designed and built a custom walk-in Cyanoacrylate fuming chamber and exhibit drying system. Over several days of extreme summer heat, wearing multiple layers of protective clothing, the Detectives conducted a thorough forensic examination of the recovered exhibits. Despite being exposed to the suffocating odours and toxic biological waste they were able to secure the evidence necessary to further the homicide investigation.
Twenty officers and support staff received the Chief Constable’s Unit Commendation.
- In October of 2016, the VicPD received information Canada Border Services Agency, who indicated that they had intercepted a package destined for an address in the City of Victoria. The package had been mailed from an address in China, and was determined by CBSA to contain a significant amount of the deadly illicit drug, fentanyl. Despite the fact that this matter would require an extensive police response, no federal agencies were in the position to undertake the task of pursing the complex criminal investigation that was necessary to identify, track, and arrest those responsible. As a result of the extensive work carried out by fourteen officers and two support staff, more than 1.25 million dollars’ worth of deadly drugs has been taken off the streets. As one of the largest drugs seizures in the history of VicPD, this investigation received national attention, and resulted in the accused being sentenced to 12 years in prison. The accused’s sentence now stands as one of the longest prison terms ever handed out by the courts in response to the fentanyl crisis.
Over the coming days, we will be sharing more stories of our officers and support staff’s selfless actions in making Victoria and Esquimalt better places in which to live.