A Surrey Police officer is being recognized internationally for going above and beyond in her time with the department.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) recently announced this year’s “40 Under 40,” recognizing individuals from around the world who exemplify leadership, dedication and service to their communities and the law enforcement profession.
Sgt. Kaleigh Paddon from Surrey Police Service (SPS) is among the winners.
“She is being recognized for her outstanding work in building our Wellness Unit, and integrating a trauma informed approach to our organization,” stated SPS in a tweet.
Paddon started off her policing career with the Surrey RCMP in August 2005. She later transferred to SPS.
As a certified nutrition coach and personal trainer, Paddon integrated her passion for health, fitness and nutrition into her career.
In July 2021, she was put in charge of the wellness unit at SPS.
“I feel incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to create programs and bring awareness to the importance of both mental and physical health in the world of policing and first responders,” stated Paddon in an IACP post.
One of these programs involves a service dog named Ragnar.
“She is the first sworn officer in Canada to integrate an occupational stress intervention dog into a police unit for daily operations,” reads the IACP post.
Paddon and Ragnar underwent extensive training to be able to provide their services to SPS. Ragnar graduated in July 2022 from VICD Service Dogs and was deployed as SPS’s Operational Stress Injury dog.
“A lot of what we do is have officers come in if they’re seeking help or they’re struggling so (Ragnar) really helps with breaking down that barrier and making people comfortable in starting that conversation about mental health,” Paddon explained.
“We do peer support training, we respond to those critical incidents, those big deals, we also do smaller defusing or de-briefings or things like group sessions with our psychologist and (Ragnar) comes to all of it. He goes everywhere we go.”
Delta Police officer Sgt. Kaitlyn (Katie) Garcia was also among the winners.
-With files from James Smith