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Ninth Annual Police Hero of the Year Awards Program Winners and Finalists Announced

WINDSOR, ON, May 31, 2024 – The Police Association of Ontario proudly announces the winners of the ninth annual Police Services Hero of the Year Awards. Hundreds of Ontarians nominated police heroes in their local communities, celebrating the outstanding personnel who have gone beyond the call of duty.

The winners were honoured during the Police Association of Ontario’s 92nd Annual Meeting and Convention, attended by representatives from 34 local police associations across the province, exemplifying some of the most exceptional individuals and teams who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving their communities.

Congratulations to the 2024 award winners:

York Regional Police Service: 2024 On-Duty Difference Maker – Uniform Officer (An officer who has gone above and beyond the expectations of the job while on-duty)

In 2022, tragedy struck as an active shooter terrorized the Bellaria Residence condominium in Vaughan. The swift and courageous response of members of the York Regional Police Service exemplified selflessness and heroism in the face of unspeakable tragedy.

 Melissa Styles, York Regional Police Service: 2024 On-Duty Difference Maker – Civilian Police Service Employee (A civilian police service employee who has gone above and beyond the expectations of the job while on-duty)

Melissa displayed remarkable resilience following the tragic loss of her husband, Constable Garrett Styles, in the line of duty. Despite her personal grief, Melissa has devoted herself to helping others by volunteering tirelessly.  

 Stephen and Christine Douglas, Barrie Police Service: 2024 Extra Mile Award (A uniform or civilian police service employee who has done a one-time, extraordinary act of kindness or bravery while off the job)

Stephen and Christine and their twelve-year-old daughter Autumn demonstrated exceptional bravery and courage in confronting a knife-wielding assailant, aiding their neighbour in peril. 

Andrew Gough, London Police Service: 2024 Police Hero Honour Roll Award (Pays homage to a police officer or civilian police service employee who has made a significant impact over the past decade)

Andrew, alongside his service dog, Riggs, has fostered dialogue among his colleagues about his mental health journey, stemming from an Operational Stress Injury (OSI) during his service. Recognizing the profound impact of service animals on OSI recovery, Captain Gough founded Veterans and Everyday Heroes (V-EH!), a non-profit supporting OSI-affected individuals, particularly in obtaining service dogs.

Adam McEachern, York Regional Police Service: 2024 Community Role Model (A police officer or civilian police service employee who has made a difference in their community while off-duty)

Inspired by his son Caleb, who is on the autism spectrum, Adam spearheads The Autism Heroes Endurance Challenge, raising funds for autism services and Special Olympics Ontario. 

The Police Association of Ontario’s Awards Committee (comprised of members-at-large, the President, the Board Chair, and civilian association staff) had the challenging task of selecting the winners from hundreds of heartfelt nominations. 

The Police Association of Ontario would also like to congratulate this year’s award finalists.

Over the next few months, a media tour to present the awards to winners and finalists will take place in their communities alongside their colleagues, friends, family, and community members.

“We appreciate the Ontarians who took the time to nominate their ‘Police Heroes’ in all regions of the province,” said Mark Baxter, President of the Police Association of Ontario. “The award submissions this year were truly impressive and speak volumes about the outstanding dedication, bravery, and compassion our members demonstrate each and every day.”

Members of the public are encouraged to view the stories of the 2024 Police Services Hero of the Year Award winners on www.policehero.ca.

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