Winners of the 2018 Surrey Police Officer of the Year Awards, handed out at a Surrey Board of Trade-hosted gala held at Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel on Oct. 4. (Photo: Submitted)

Surrey Police Officer of the Year Award winners announced

Annual awards given to RCMP members, as well as auxiliary, civilian employees and volunteers

Winners of the 22nd annual Surrey Police Officer of the Year awards have been announced.

The Surrey Board of Trade-hosted gala was held on Oct. 4 at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel and honoured winners in eight categories.

The annual awards are given out to Surrey RCMP members, as well as auxiliary, civilian employees and volunteers, who have been chosen by their peers and the public.

This year, over 50 nominations were received and were judged “based on their innovation, commitment, contribution and perseverance,” according to a release.

See also: 2017 Surrey Police Officer of the Year Awards handed out (Oct. 6, 2017)

Winner of the Police Officer of the Year in the “nominated by community” category was Inspector Wendy Mehat.

“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.”

She 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 winner for the same award, but nominated by his peers, was Constable Aaron Labrum.

According to a SBOT released, “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.”

He was involved in the review and planning to “dismantle the Surrey Strip.”

Labrum also leads the team with Immediate Roadside Prohibitions (IRP) and has been the recipient of many Alexa team honors.

Staff Sergeant Neil Kennedy won the Arnold Silzer Community Policing Initiative Award.

For the past four years, he’s led one of the largest police youth section. He also 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 wait-list in partnership with the School District.

Super Save Group was the winner of the Police and Business Partnership Award.

The business was honoured for its “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,” according to a SBOT release. “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 have raised more than $35,000 and over 6,000 pounds of food for the Surrey Food Bank.

Counsellor Craig Monro won the Municipal Employee of the Year Award and Bill Ingram took home the Police Volunteer of the Year Award.

A SBOT release states Monro has provided counselling to thousands of vulnerable youth and families during his 17-year tenure with the Youth Intervention Program.

“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,” it notes. “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 wait-list 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.”

Meantime, Ingram has contributed more than 500 hours between joining Surrey RCMP’s Auxiliary Program, and assisting Community Program Co-ordinators with training of new volunteer recruits.

“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,” according to SBOT, adding he 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.”

Winner of the Auxiliary of the Year Award was Doyle Willett, and the Police Mental Health Intervention Unit won the Police Team of the Year award.

Willett began as an auxiliary constable in 2005 and since then, 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,” a SBOT release notes.

Willett also initiated the Outreach Program at District 1 by teaching martial arts to youth assist in their development of self confidence.

A SBOT release noted the Police Mental Health Intervention Unit (aka Car 67) program is a partnership with the Fraser Health Authority in which 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,” a release states. “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.”

The Surrey Board of Trade-hosted event benefited the RCMP Youth Academy.

For more information, visit businessinsurrey.com.

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