The Quebec Police Awards – Honouring the province’s top cops since 1999
The Quebec Police Awards gala was first held in the grand ballroom of the Marriott Château Champlain Hotel in November 1999. The event was created to honour police officers throughout the province of Quebec who have distinguished themselves with the quality of their work, their heroics or outstanding community involvement. Each recipient receives a crystal during a ceremony that is filled with pomp and circumstance, and is attended by police officers, politicians and members of Quebec’s business community.
The awards gala is the creation of the Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association and the Quebec Provincial Police Association.
Candidates are nominated by police officers and selected by a board of governance of the Quebec Police Awards. To nominate a deserving officer, visit the website of the Quebec Police Awards at http://www.prixpoliciersduquebec.ca/
Members of the RCMP and the QMPMA have been honoured for their outstanding policing work over the years. Here are their stories:
42 years on the beat, and counting….
At the age of 19, he began lifting weights. At 21, he became a police officer. Four decades later, he is still lifting weights four times a week, and at 63 years of age, Maurice Dubé is still proudly wearing the badge and patrolling with all the enthusiasm of a 21-year-old.
Constable Dubé is a true career police officer, a volunteer fireman, an accomplished athlete and a native son of Quebec’s Mont-Joli region, where he still lives and works. He may have 42 years of policing under his belt, but Dubé has endless drive and enthusiasm to continue patrolling and helping the citizens that he serves and protects.
The Sûreté du Québec veteran is hyperactive, honest, humane, and he’s never sick. He’s been known to love his pizzas, and he’s been respected by three generations of delinquents. Everyone in the region knows him. In fact, Dubé is such a familiar face that he has rarely been called upon to use necessary force when making an arrest.
There is that one time when thieves were interrupted by an alarm as they were trying to rob a business and decided to escape on foot. Dubé and his partner, Const. Laflamme, decided to look for the suspects, using their flashlights to follow the footsteps — an exercise that lasted two hours, as the patient officers eventually ended up outside a house where the suspects had sought refuge. The stunned would-be robbers were shocked to have been located and surrendered without incident.
Const. Maurice Dubé is a recipient of a 2016 Quebec Police Award, not because of a particular act of bravery or a specific case, but because of his long, glorious career, dedicated to policing, his family and to his fellow citizens, and for his loyalty to his values and ideals.
A dramatic ice rescue by an SQ officer saves the life of a suicidal woman in Abitibi
It’s a cold April 11, 2016 in the town of Matagami, in Quebec’s Abitibi region, when, a mid-afternoon 911 call comes in. A woman needs help, saying she intends to kill herself. She gives her location, on the edge of the Bell River. Sûreté du Québec Const. Pier-Philip Lapointe Mailhot, the officer who receives the call, is very familiar with the river. The currents are very strong because of the nearby rapids, and ice cannot form in the spot where the woman is standing because of the strength of the currents. The only ice that has formed is on the river’s edge, and it is very thin. Lapointe Mailhot races to the scene and spots the woman, standing on a thin piece of ice near the shore, about a kilometre from where he has stopped his cruiser. The woman is too far away from the road, and the officer must now walk to reach her because his vehicle can’t go past the road.
As he walks, Lapointe Mailhot decides to call the victim on her cell phone, using the number that the 911 operator has supplied. The woman sounds confused and is uncooperative.
By the time the officer reaches the woman, she is kneeling on the ice and turns her back on him, refusing any help. With only a few metres separating her, Lapointe Mailhot sees that the ice is fragile, the current is very strong, the water is extremely cold and the woman is uncooperative. The scene is a tragedy waiting to happen.
Volunteer firefighters arrive on the scene and supply Lapointe Mailhot with a rope, which he ties around his waist, before rushing onto the thin ice and grabbing the woman by the collar of her coat and dragging her across the ice to solid ground. The woman is now safe and taken to hospital by ambulance.
Despite the potentially tragic conditions, Lapointe Mailhot never gave up and his actions saved her life. And despite her lack of cooperation, and her suicide attempt, it was clear that the victim wanted to be saved, or else she never would have made the 911 call.
For his courage and determination, Const. Pier-Philip Lapointe Mailhot is a winner of a 2016 Quebec Police Award.
Off-duty SQ constable unwittingly saves the life of a fellow officer
On March 27, 2016, Jean Rousselle (badge #1853) of the Sûreté du Québec was enjoying an Easter brunch with his wife and son — a former Laval Police officer — at a restaurant in the town of Ste-Adèle in the Laurentians. After finishing their meal, the family made its way out the front entrance and crossed paths with off-duty SQ Constable Benoit Daoust (badge #12693) and members of his family, who were waiting to enter the restaurant.
Moments later, Daoust’s brother alerted him that a man had just collapsed near a set of stairs leading to the parking lot of the restaurant. It was, in fact, officer Rousselle, and he was in trouble. Daoust was not on duty, but because policing is a calling, it was only natural for Daoust to rush to the side of the fallen man, not realising that the life he was about to save was that of a colleague’s.
Daoust immediately jumped in and began CPR on Rousselle. He performed cardiac massage movements and continued until Rousselle began showing vital signs. Daoust continued his maneuvres until ambulance technicians arrived on the scene and attended to the victim. Once Rousselle was taken away, Daoust returned to join the members of his family.
The fact that a police officer saved the life of a colleague is only part of this story. Jean Rousselle is the father of Quebec MNA Jean Rousselle Jr., who represents the Vimont riding.
For his professionalism, his dedication and quick action in saving the life of Jean Rousselle, Const. Benoit Daoust is a proud recipient of a 2016 Quebec Police Award.
An RCMP officer helps his peers to overcome psychological distress
When he joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police less than a decade ago, Constable Éric Pagé stood out because of his strong sense of wanting to help others and his desire to make a difference. Pagé quickly realised that he didn’t have to look very far to see people in need. All around him, he saw numerous cases of psychological distress among his peers. While carrying out his duties with the RCMP’s marine security enforcement team in Quebec City, Pagé gradually honed his skills to be in a better place to volunteer his professional help for the men and women on the frontlines facing PTSD and other personal issues.
Pagé, 33, worked on obtaining two university certificates — one from Simon Fraser University in the prevention of psychological trauma for first responders, and the second from Laval University on addiction. In following these programs, Pagé developed an expertise that now allows him to intervene among colleagues who need help, while helping them to build up their resilience and to accept their vulnerability.
His dedication to helping his peers has led to Pagé being a driving force behind La Vigile. This non-profit organization located in Quebec City was founded in2003 by Jacques-Denis Simard, and is presided by Yves Crépeau. Both men are attending the 2016 Quebec Police Awards gala, and have been supporters of this event since it was launched in 1999.
Not only does Pagé attend La Vigile’s board of directors and foundation meetings, he also uses his position as an RCMP officer to inform fellow officers about the services offered by La Vigile, and to supply therapeutic support to all police officers, regardless of the colour of the uniform. The Quebec City native has worked tirelessly to raise funds for La Vigile, through an annual golf tournament, two motorcycle rallies and from the sale of RCMP memorabilia. This officer’s dedication to the cause means that he also is involved with “Urgence Masculinité (Male Urgency)”, a program offered by the Quebec suicide prevention centre and the Canadian Organ Donors Association.
In winning a 2016 Quebec Police Award, Const. Éric Pagé exemplifies all that is good about a police officer whose spirit of commitment and empathy is focused on those who too often fall through the cracks. Frontline personnel — be it police officers, firefighters or ambulance technicians — know they can count on Pagé and La Vigile for hope and support.
Quebec’s top criminal profiler gets inside the minds of killers
Policing in a modern and democratic society requires diversity, along with specialized skills and responsibilities. The Surêté du Québec’s Yohan Morneau is a sergeant who embodies all of these things. His job is a particular one when it comes to investigations because he has the skills to get inside a criminal’s mind. That’s because Morneau is a certified criminal profiler — a rare expertise in policing, and one that has proven to be extremely invaluable to investigators of all stripes across the province.
Over the last few years, Morneau has assisted a multitude of SQ investigators, as well as several municipal police departments across the province. Each year, he is asked to work on hundreds of cases. In the course of his interventions, Morneau delivers a thick report that includes a summary of the investigation and facts, a reconstitution of events, important elements of the crime scene and a profile of the suspect. The profile usually identifies the suspect’s sex, age, personality, physical characteristics and a social and psychological assessment of the individual. “I’m usually right 85 percent of the time,” says Morneau, who, when he is not profiling criminals, teaches at Quebec’s police school in Nicolet and at the Canadian Police College in Ottawa, and develops training tools for his colleagues.
Morneau is currently working on several unresolved Quebec homicide cases.
For his important and invaluable behind-the-scenes police work, Yohan Morneau is a recipient of a 2016 Quebec Police Award.
Complex money-laundering case cracked by pair of patient, persistent RCMP investigators
In 2009 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began an investigation into a white-collar criminal organization that orchestrated a complex scheme that would have gone unnoticed had it not been for the tireless work of two RCMP C Division members. With the case set to go to court only in 2018, it is not yet known what the final verdict will be, but 2016 Quebec Police Awards are awarded to Constable Charles Garon and civilian member Sandy Franco de Vasconcelos for their painstakingly detailed and persistent work and attention to detail, which led to charges being laid.
The investigation was extremely complex. For Garon and Franco de Vasconcelos, identifying the scheme, its players and its many layers was only the start of their complicated work. Proving what they found was even more complex. In short, the MO involved a company, receiving goods and merchandise worth $13 million, and then suddenly declaring bankruptcy two months later. Creditors then tried to retrieve their merchandise, but without success. There was no track of the stock and no trace of the transactions related to the missing merchandise. The stock disappeared, the company’s accounting records showed no evidence of any transactions, and the company now belonged to another company which belonged to a broker and their lawyer, who was bound by solicitor-client privilege.
Garon and Franco de Vasconcelos patiently and with tremendous perseverance were able to unravel the scheme, leading them to funds hidden in bank accounts in Switzerland and the Virgin Islands. One hundred and sixty witnesses and victims were interviewed to build the RCMP’s case. While the officer and civilian member were backed by a solid team, they were the leaders who brought the case to court.
The long and patient arm of the law brings Cinar’s fraudsters to justice
The criminal justice system can sometimes be very far-reaching with its “long arm of the law”, as the old saying goes. And perhaps no clearer example can be found than with the infamous Cinar case, which this year led to prison sentences for some of the administrators of the Montreal children’s animation company.
The saga, which began in 1999, proved to be a massive fraud that resulted in the collapse of the celebrated company and the destruction of the retirement savings of thousands of investors. In early 2000 it was alleged that $122 million US was invested in a company in the Bahamas without the approval of Cinar’s board of directors. The fraud was led by Ronald Weinberg, the co-founder of the company. In September 2003, Sûreté du Québec Sgt. Sylvain Deschamps of the force’s economic crimes division was assigned to investigate Cinar.
In the course of his investigation, more than 50 witnesses were interviewed to sort out the mess. Warrants were issued in Montreal, Toronto and in the Bahamas. Thousands of pages of documents were seized and meticulously probed to establish evidence. At one point, there were up to 70 police officers working on the case, along with administrative personnel and specialists. The investigation also proved to be a very long obstacle course of legal walls and challenges, including a $190 million law suit against auditors who were part of the investigative team. In March 2011, charges were finally laid against four co-defendants, with the fraud reaching $126 million US.
In January 2014, Cinar’s former chief financial officer pleaded guilty and received a four-year prison term after testifying as a Crown witness in the case. The trial for the three others began in May 2014. Verdicts were handed down last June, with each receiving seven years and 11 months. A La Presse journalist described the evidence as “gargantuan”. The sentencing came weeks after Canada’s longest-running criminal jury trial. A total of 34 witnesses testified, including expert forensic auditor Réjean Deveault, whose testimony lasted 96 hours, most of it under cross-examination. Deveault and Deschamps are considered the prime architects behind this massive investigation.
Twenty-two months after the start of the trial, and 13 years after being assigned to lead the investigation, Sgt. Deschamps can definitely say: “mission accomplished”. The case is also proof that in order to get convictions, it is important to be supported by a team of competent experts.
For their outstanding work in bringing Cinar’s fraudsters to justice, Deschamps and Deveault are most deserving of 2016 Quebec Police Awards.
Patience and hard work lead SQ officers to put away a serial child-sex predator
On October 22, 2013 an 11-year-old girl and her parents walk into the Sûreté du Québec’s MRC du Haut St-François detachment in the Eastern Townships town of Cookshire-Eaton. They inform police officers that an unknown individual has been harassing their daughter online and asking her to pose naked in front of her computer. The police investigation that follows leads to five more local victims coming forward, and police quickly realise that they have an active child predator on their hands.
Using the SQ’s cyber-surveillance technology, Sgt. Martin Gagné obtains the suspect’s name and address. Armed with a search warrant, Gagné teams up with the SQ’s Eastern Townships’ major crimes unit and learns that the suspect is a physical education teacher at a primary school in the Sherbrooke region.
A raid at the home of the suspect results in police seizing a computer, which allows Gagné and his team of investigators to see that the suspect has been in contact with more than 100 children in the months leading up to the raid. It is at this point that the investigation takes on a more urgent twist. Police now have to identify and locate all of the victims. Soon, investigators are able to identify 62 victims from Rimouski, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Beauce and New Brunswick. One victim is identified thanks to the logo of a sweater worn by a child or from other details found in the videos kept by the suspect. SQ officers end up talking with each of the 62 identified victims. The lengthy investigation leads to 102 criminal charges laid against the suspect, who pleads guilty to all counts. Last month, the man was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
SQ Sergeants Marc André Charland, Martin Gagné, Alain Laflamme, Éric Lefebvre, Patrick Munoz and Mathieu Sirois demonstrated extreme patience, professionalism and hard work in obtaining the evidence needed to put away a child predator. And in receiving 2016 Quebec Police Awards, they are also honoured for showing their commitment to protecting innocent young victims.
Specialized RCMP team nabs radicalized terrorist cell
On April 10, 2015 the RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) received a tip about two young individuals who were showing clear signs of radicalized behaviour, and who were possibly ready to commit acts of violence. The level of urgency was so high that the RCMP launched Projet Sourd, calling on its specialized INSET team to take action.
Over the next 10 days, this 12-member team worked non-stop to identify the suspects and find out what their objectives were. The unit also looked into their contacts, where they were located, what tools and weapons they possibly might have, how they got around, what means of communication they were using, and if they were a single cell or had contacts with others. This was a complex investigation, involving warrants, which meant that officers needed to present solid evidence to judges to obtain these warrants. This meant that the RCMP had two teams working — one on the frontline to gather evidence and one behind the scenes that prepared the warrants and sorted out the evidence. In all, more than 30 warrants were issued, resulting in the arrest of two suspects, who were caught before they could commit their crimes. At the moment of their arrest, the suspects were nabbed in possession of bomb-making materials and were allegedly prepared to join a foreign terrorist organization and commit terrorist acts on Canadian soil.
For their outstanding work, their sense of urgency, and for their dedication to protecting the lives of Canadians, the following RCMP members are honoured with 2016 Quebec Police Awards: Team leader Sgt. Marie Eve Lavallée, Sgt. Mathieu Doyon, Cpl. Pascal Hébert, Cpl. Vincent Roy, Cpl. Denis Venne, Constables Jude Martine Louisma, Keven Rouleau, Maryse Robert, Olivier Brouillard, Jean-Sébastien Petit, Tarek Mokdad, and civilian member Geneviève Coulombe.
The gala, hosted by Gino Paré — an SQ officer and a 2004 Quebec Police Award winner — was attended by about 250 guests from the province’s police, political and business communities. Of the 29 winners, 27 were frontline police officers and two were civilians who work with police.
Members of the Quebec Police Awards gala’s Board of Governance outlined the exceptional work of all police officers throughout the province, emphasizing particular acts of bravery and dedication to duty. Winners at the 2015 gala received a crystal, which salutes courage, team spirit, perseverance and dedication to the community.
Here are the stories of the 2015 winning recipients.
Infamous ‘Mercedes couple’ is nabbed by veteran Saint-Lazare sergeant-detective for robbing 70 residences
Between December 2012 and May 2014, the town of Saint-Lazare, located about 45 minutes west of Montreal, experienced a wave of residential break-ins. While most of the 70 reported infractions took place in Saint-Lazare, 13 neighbouring towns were also hit. The targets were always high-end residences, and by the time police added up the losses, the suspects had stolen more than $1 million worth of belongings, including jewellery and money.
In March 2013, investigators with the Sûreté du Québec made their big break in the case when they studied the images from a surveillance camera of a home that had just been robbed. The video showed a woman with a fur coat and hood getting out of a Mercedes that was parked in front of the house – a Mercedes which did not belong to its occupants. The woman was then seen looking inside a window of the house. Shortly after, the residence’s alarm system was disconnected.
The robbers used the same MO each time. After consulting Revenu Québec’s online Registre des entreprises du Québec (Quebec’s business registry), they targeted the homes of specific business owners who had left town to go on vacation. After carefully staking out the residences and making sure they were vacant, the robbers returned to the houses and cut the alarm systems.
The key to the investigation was the Mercedes. In fact, once charges were laid, the case made media headlines, and the robbers quickly became known as the Mercedes couple. Officers traced the car to 27-year-old Elyanne Miller and her husband, 30-year-old Jimmy Simard-Patry, who faced a total of 70 criminal charges in relation to the break-ins. In the end, Simard-Patry was sentenced to five years in jail, while Miller received two years. A third suspect is awaiting trial.
The SQ used everything they had to nail the suspects: officers hid a GPS monitor underneath the Mercedes, they conducted surveillance and obtained search warrants for the couple’s condo, and carefully monitored their iPhone conversations and text messages.
Patience and countless hours of work were necessary to nab Miller and Simard-Patry. And the lead investigator in the case — veteran Sgt. Det. Gordon Hunter — is one of the main reasons the case became such an important investigation by the SQ. Hunter painstakingly retraced each and every break-in to link all 70 incidents to the couple. Without Hunter’s diligence, the break-ins would have continued.
This is not the first time Hunter has exemplified excellence in police work. In 1994, as a 28-year-old member of the Saint-Lazare Police Service, he was recognized for his quick action when he and his partner helped deliver a baby after responding to a 911 call about a woman about to give birth inside her residence.
For his most recent investigative work, a 2015 Quebec Police Award is presented to Sgt. Det. Gordon Hunter of the Sûreté du Québec’s Vaudreuil-Soulanges Ouest detachment.
An expert in national security and community builder: it’s all in a day’s work for RCMP sergeant
Threats to national security can come in many forms, and Canada certainly is not immune to any potential attack. Working together, and knowing how to recognize signs of a menace and how to process information that is brought forward are all key to fostering change and making sure that all Canadians live in safe communities.
Although their ideologies and motivations may differ, terrorists share one thing in common — they plan their attacks. This planning exposes indicators that can become apparent in the days, weeks or months prior to an attack. The discovery of one of these indicators, when put in a broader context, could help prevent an attack.
Sgt. Hakim Bellal was assigned to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s National Security Investigations Program in 2011, and again, from December 2012 to March 2014 as the program’s only coordinator. Since then, his program has received more resources, and Bellal has accomplished many goals and surpassed all objectives set forth in three areas: awareness and police officer training, awareness workshops for the private sector, and community outreach and prevention.
Bellal, who works out of Montreal’s C Division, developed preventive approach strategies with RCMP investigators looking into subjects of interest and their families. Officers developed skills, understanding and knowledge regarding national security issues and the environment in which these issues are found.
Bellal has also been closely involved with his community. He came to the help of local boxer Ali Nestor and his non-profit organization, Les Princes de la rue, by organizing a fundraiser for the east-end group and obtaining computers and dictionaries for the teens that Nestor was helping in an effort to get them to return to school.
Bellal has also participated in soccer tournaments for Montreal youth in collaboration with the Montreal Police Department, as well as helped organize community dinners during Ramadan and police-awareness days for youth.
Through his knowledge about national security and his unparalleled community involvement, Sgt. Hakim Ballel has not only brought a positive light on the RCMP’s National Security Investigations Program, but earned him a 2015 Quebec Police Award.
Motorist saved from drowning by 2 SQ officers near Rimouski
Mike Jérôme Ruest was driving to work on Highway 132 in Sainte-Angèle de Merici shortly before 5 a.m. on May 15, 2015 when he fell asleep at the wheel of his truck.
“When I opened my eyes, it was too late, I was in the air,” Ruest recalls, adding that his truck slammed into the Mitis River, about 45 kilometres east of Rimouski. Once it hit the frigid water, Ruest’s truck quickly drifted towards the centre of the river. Witnesses who saw the vehicle’s lights in the river contacted the Sûreté du Québec.
“I wasn’t able to unbuckle my seatbelt,” said Ruest. “I forced it so much that I had cracks in my hands and ribs, and one of my kidneys was torn.”
Suddenly, a groggy Ruest heard tapping on the window. It was Sgt. Gilles Dionne of the SQ, who had jumped into the cold water and was now standing on top of the submerged truck. Meanwhile, as the truck floated in the river, Dionne’s partner, Const. Élizabeth Carrier, was standing on the shore, holding on to a rope and a buoy that was attached to Dionne’s waist.
Both officers quickly realized that there was no time to wait for backup. The river’s current was very strong, and Ruest had by now lost consciousness. As they waited for firefighters to reach the scene, Dionne smashed the rooftop window of the truck and saw that the water was rising inside the vehicle. Dionne reached down and held Ruest’s head above the water.
When firefighters arrived, they immediately moved in and, with Dionne’s assistance, managed to remove the victim out of his truck and transported him into a boat, before taking him to hospital.
Receiving 2015 Quebec Police Awards for their heroic actions are Sgt. Gilles Dionne and Const. Élizabeth Carrier of the SQ’s La Mitis, Gaspésie/Les Îles detachment.
Project Lorgnette dismantles international network of debit card fraudsters
In August 2012, the Sûreté du Québec launched Project Lorgnette, a multi-police-agency investigation into a vast network that involved the fraudulent use of debit cards in Quebec, Canada and around the world. As the investigation revealed, the Montreal-based criminal organization was involved in the sophisticated manipulation of point-of-sale (POS) terminals in shopping centres across North America and Europe. The scheme bilked $12-million from more than 30,000 debit card users.
Arrests were made in October 2013 by the Economic Crimes Unit of the Sûreté du Québec and took place in Montreal, Laval, Longueuil, Boucherville, Chambly and Magog, and led to the detention of 15 individuals, including the head of the criminal network from Boucherville.
Cooperation in the investigation was received from the Canadian Bankers’ Association, Fraud and Payment Brigade of the Regional Directorate of the Judicial Police of Paris (which initiated the investigations on this network in France), the Forensic Science Laboratory of the French Gendarmerie (which provided technical support), the German Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) and Europol, which provided support and operational coordination.
The network is alleged to have orchestrated fraud with a potential loss of $12 million outside Canada. Criminals were able to compromise card data from debit cards. Their method of operation was to tamper with POS terminals, which allowed fraudsters to intercept customers’ bank data without their knowledge. The data was then transferred throughout Quebec to be decrypted and re-routed abroad where counterfeit cards were made to exploit the stolen data connected to individual customer bank accounts.
Police learned that the pieces used to modify the cash registers were built in Quebec and sent to China, where they were mass-produced for the criminal organization. The probe discovered that the suspects would switch POS debit card terminals in European grocery stores for fraudulent ones using a duffel bag with a false bottom containing the tampered-with machines. Once the terminals were switched, the fraudsters could access debit card and PIN numbers.
On October 21, 2014, Project Lorgnette moved into its final phase when investigators presented their case in Plattsburgh before officers with the New York State Police, as well as US Customs and border patrol services and the FBI.
Investigators with the Laval and Longueuil police services worked on the investigation with the SQ.
For their efforts in nabbing these fraudsters, the following officers are being rewarded with 2015 Quebec Police Awards:
From the Sûreté du Québec: Lt. François Gaudet, Sgt. Det. Michèle Boily, Sgt. Caroline Chiquette, Sgt. Det. Jean Barnett, Sgt. Jean-François Chénier, and Sgt. Karine St-Jean.
From the Laval Police Service: Sgt. Det. François Dumais.
From the Longueuil Police Service: Sgt. Det. Philippe St-Cyr.
SQ officers in Taschereau save the life of a missing suicidal man in -30 weather
At 9 p.m. on February 5, 2015, Sgt. Dany Bédard of the Sûreté du Québec’s Abitibi-Ouest detachment received a 911 call about the disappearance of Maxime Roussy-Vaillancourt, a 31-year-old suicidal man from Taschereau who had recently experienced a breakup with his spouse. The depressed man had been gone for two hours, and was wearing very little clothing.
Bédard immediately mobilized his entire SQ unit, including Constables Patrick Petit, Jésabel Blanchette and Marc-Antoine Noël. The extremely cold weather conditions — it was about minus-30 degrees Celsius that night — made the disappearance urgent, and because it was a question of time, Bédard launched an immediate ground-level search.
Officers Noël and Blanchette soon spotted footprints in the snow that led to a snowmobile path. The officers followed the lead for three kilometres until they located the man, who was lying in the snow in an advanced state of hypothermia. After alerting their colleagues, the officers quickly realised that it was difficult to move the victim because he was almost six feet tall and weighed about 270 pounds. Joined by Const. Petit, the three officers removed their coats and placed it on Roussy‑Vaillancourt and began body compressions for more than an hour.
Meanwhile, Bédard waited nearby for an emergency crew to bring them a sled. When it arrived, the officers learned that the emergency services did not have a snowmobile, so they drove in their cruiser to a nearby residence, where they awoke the occupant and requested to use his snowmobile. Moments later, Bédard and Petit were on the scene where their colleagues were tending to Roussy‑Vaillancourt.
Roussy‑Vaillancourt was rushed to hospital, where he had four fingers and a foot amputated. Despite his injuries, doctors were quick to say that the actions of the SQ officers had saved Roussy‑Vaillancourt’s life.
For their heroics that night, 2015 Quebec Police Awards are presented to Sgt. Dany Bédard and Constables Patrick Petit, Jésabel Blanchette and Marc-Antoine Noël.
RCMP probe nails criminal network that used online phishing to lure innocent victims as unwitting cocaine trafficking mules
In February 2013, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Drug Section in Montreal launched Project Cellophane. The investigation revealed that a criminal organization based in Montreal stole money from victims after recruiting them through an Internet phishing campaign, telling each victim that they had inherited money, had won a lottery, or would make money after transferring funds from a foreign country to Canada. The goal was to obtain money from each phishing victim.
Once the criminal organization had obtained large amounts of cash from their victims, they took their scheme to a higher level by setting up meetings between the victims and two Nigerian nationals in a Montreal hotel.
The two men displayed a suitcase loaded with cash, explaining that the money had been altered with ink and a chemical product could remove the ink. After demonstrating the ink removal, the victims were instructed to bring the suitcases to South America, where the money would be cleaned, and to bring it back to Montreal. Unbeknownst to the victims, the suitcases actually carried concealed quantities of cocaine.
Project Cellophane identified 18 innocent victims — many of whom were caught by authorities and jailed in Canada, the United States, Peru and Equator. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Project Cellophane’s three investigators and one civil employee, several of the victims were released from prison and all charges were dropped.
On March 3, 2015, the two accused — John Nwoko and Charles Ifezue — pleaded guilty to six charges, including cocaine importation and conspiracy, and were handed lengthy prison sentences.
Were it not for the perseverance of Cpl. Martin Crête and Constables Dany Turcot and Chris Smith, the Canadians arrested for possession of large amounts of cocaine would still be languishing in prison cells. And thanks to the expertise and analyses of RCMP civilian member Pierre Gauthier, investigators were able to obtain information on the MO of this criminal organization and take action.
For their outstanding work, 2015 Quebec Police Awards are presented to RCMP Cpl. Martin Crête, and Constables Chris Smith and Dany Turcot, as well as to RCMP analyst Pierre Gauthier.
Quick action by two SQ officers in Témiscamingue saves a family from their burning house in nearby Thorne, Ontario
While Brigitte Loiselle and Denis Dion are still picking up the pieces, almost a year after a devastating fire completely destroyed their home in the tiny community of Wyse, Ontario, across the river from Témiscamingue, on December 10, 2014, they are thankful to be alive. And they are especially thankful for the vigilance of two police officers from the Sûreté du Québec’s Témiscamingue detachment.
At 2:30 a.m., patrolling officers Patrick Kasysongdeth and Guillaume Bastien were on the Quebec side of the Outaouais River when they heard a loud noise and spotted flames engulfing a garage and quickly spreading to a nearby house on the Ontario side of the river. The officers raced to the scene as they alerted the Ontario Provincial Police and firefighters.
Kasysongdeth and Bastien reached the house on Wyse Rd. Once they entered the residence, they awoke the occupants and led them outside to safety. They then evacuated a neighbouring house that was in danger of being engulfed by flames. Moments later, firefighters, ambulance technicians and OPP officers were on the scene.
In the end, the two SQ officers saved the lives of every occupant, including two parents, three children and a five-year-old grandson. The house was a complete loss, as were all of the Christmas gifts that the family had gathered.
Had Constables Kasysongdeth and Bastien not acted quickly and shown such courage in a situation where each second counted — and had the two officers simply advised the OPP of the incident, given that the fire was not in the SQ’s jurisdiction — the incident would have definitely ended tragically.
In the end, the two officers set aside jurisdictional rules and went beyond the call of duty to respond and save lives.
For their courage and quick action, 2015 Quebec Police Awards are presented to Constables Patrick Kasysongdeth and Guillaume Bastien.
RCMP and SQ work together to bring fraud charges against former Quebec lieutenant-governor Lise Thibault
In June 2007, Quebec’s minister responsible for Canadian intergovernmental affairs filed an official request with the Sûreté du Québec’s director general to investigate the findings of the province’s auditor general into spending discrepancies by former Quebec lieutenant-governor Lise Thibault.
At the same time, Canada’s Canadian Heritage Minister requested that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s C Division also launch an investigation.
The probe was assigned to a team of investigators with the economic crimes divisions of the SQ and the RCMP. The investigation — dubbed Project Claudia (RCMP) and Project Doyen — focused on Thibault’s 10-year mandate on behalf of the Quebec and Canadian governments.
The delicate investigation meant that officers had to navigate through government systems and departments that oversee all claims and subsidies, both in Quebec City and in Ottawa. The documented evidence was thick and required a meticulous analysis that stretched over several months. What resulted was a key report by an accounting forensics expert, which led to recommendations that charges be filed against Thibault.
Thibault was charged with four counts of fraud, two counts of breach of trust, and two counts of forgery. Prosecutor Marcel Guimont is credited with bringing this case to a successful conclusion in a most exemplary fashion as the investigation faced many bureaucratic hurdles.
On September 30, 2015, Thibault was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to repay $300,000 to both levels of government. Thibault is appealing the sentence.
Receiving 2015 Quebec Police Awards for their work on this case:
From the RCMP: Cpl. Jean-Maurice Ouellette (retired), Cpl. Jean-Alexandre Bouchard and Sgt. Éric St-Cyr.
From the SQ: Supervising Sgt. Serge Lachance, Sgt. Jean-Michel Néron, Sgt. Robert Anctil (retired) and accountant Jacinthe Senneville.
SQ officers’ bravery shines in tragic L’Île Verte seniors residence tragedy
Sadly, not every act of heroism ends happily. On the particular tragic night of January 22, 2014, flames were ravaging the Résidence du Havre seniors residence in L’Isle-Verte as all the occupants were still inside the inferno. Soon, 10 Sûreté du Québec officers were on the scene. While firemen tried to reach residents huddling on their balconies, the police officers entered the building. There was much smoke that grew increasingly thick. Besides the roar of the blaze and the sounds of the building about to break apart, there were cries for help.
Many residents weren’t sufficiently mobile to find their way to the exits. So the 10 officers entered the residence without fire-masks or firefighting equipment, breaking down doors in order to reach residents. Some were still in their beds. The police officers carried or guided them to the exterior. But they didn’t stop there. Despite it being minus-25, the officers transported the elderly victims to a nearby garage for security. Then, without hesitation, they returned to the burning building to help rescue others in distress, further imperilling their own lives. It’s difficult to describe the intensity of those 30 minutes when time seemed to stand still. But we can imagine it. We can imagine the fear of suffocation that would take hold, even when your sense of duty required that you never abandon another human being.
Despite the 32 fatalities that resulted from the tragedy, we nevertheless pay homage to the bravery of those officers who, at great risk to themselves, were able to save a dozen elderly people facing certain death. Generally speaking, police officers play an important role in protecting the health and security of citizens. But in this particular case, we take special note of those whose courage brought honour to all others in their profession. These officers include:
From the Sûreté du Québec’s Rivière-du-Loup detachment, officers Sébastien Briand, Simon Dufour, Steve Duguay, Mathieu Fournier, Jean–François Pépin and Myriam St-Onge.
From the SQ’s Basques detachment, Francis Marquis and Dominic Pellerin.
And from the SQ’s Bas-St-Laurent highway patrol detachment, Pascal Éric D’Amour and Steeve Guy.
The Maritime School of Haiti: impressive results by the SQ and the RCMP
The United Nations has a vast presence in Haiti. Among other things, it supports the creation and training of police forces throughout the country. In 2012, the United Nations mandated a team of Canadian police officers to supervise and mentor the Haitian coast guard.
At the outset of their mission, officers with the Sûreté du Québec and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s C Division conducted an assessment of the existing situation and concluded that any successful fulfillment of their mandate would entail the training of coast guards.
Within six months, and with the help of the Haitian police, the maritime team had already produced promising results: a 400-page training guide adapted for Haitian vessels; the establishment of teaching resources; the training of two Haitian instructors to continue the program after the departure of the Canadian officers.
After eight months, their achievements were even more impressive: a theoretical and practical training course of 34 days had been drafted and the first group of 24 cadets had been trained.
But by the end of 10 months, the achievements of the maritime team had become positively exceptional, including the creation of a nautical-navigation simulator. The team purchased and adapted software from the United States, attached the console to a ship’s wheel salvaged from an abandoned vessel, hooked it up to a laptop with a video screen, and installed it in the training facility.
Two men were behind this act of humanitarianism, solidarity and professionalism; behind-the-scenes heroes who are worthy of receiving 2014 Quebec Police Awards:
Sergeant François Dubeau of the Sûreté du Québec and Constable Carl-Éric Lippke of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Project Combative: three police services target a criminal organization involved in the smuggling and trafficking of Romanian nationals in Canada
Canada is a big country; a place where people the world over aspire to live. But their dreams of a better life in Canada have also exposed many of them to exploitation. During 2012 and 2013, a large-scale investigation was launched by three law enforcement agencies in Quebec to halt human trafficking in this province. The victims were from Romania, and their route to Canada was through Mexico and the United States. Then they entered Quebec via unpatrolled roads in the Stanstead and Trout River area, or by water from the Akwesasne reserve near Cornwall, Ontario.
The main suspects responsible for the clandestine transit were identified and arrested in 2013, resulting in prison sentences and, ultimately, deportation. Since the conclusion of the operation, not a single instance of illegal entry from Romania to Canada has been documented.
Receiving 2014 Quebec Police Awards for their tireless efforts in this complicated case: From the Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Maxime St-Fleur, Jonathan Racicot, Victor De Moura, Dominique Boulianne, Mélanie Hammond, Cristian Dragan and Adriana Dragan. From the Canada Border Service Agency: Officer Charles Dudemaine, and from the Montreal Police Department: detectives Martin Lacerte and Denis Lalonde.
The hammer comes down on alleged political corruption, courtesy of the SQ, SPVM and Longueuil police
With the creation of a Quebec anti-corruption investigative policing unit, also known as the Marteau squad, police officers conducted yet another of their essential functions on behalf of society. The aim was to restore public confidence in public authorities; to keep the bidding process for public contracts open; and to protect the integrity of public institutions. This involved a crackdown on influence-peddling, collusion, embezzlement and other malfeasance that threaten fair market practices.
Toward that end, the Charbonneau Commission turned its focus on the administration of the City of Laval. Investigators interviewed 150 witnesses; conducted raids on the 8 biggest engineering firms in Quebec; compiled 30,000 hours of electronic surveillance and, finally, in May 2013, proceeded to arrest 37 persons, of whom three were accused of gangsterism. Let’s not forget that this included the ex-mayor of the City of Laval, Gilles Vaillancourt.
Because confidence in our public institutions is also a measure of everyone’s security, it is equally important to salute those who keep our institutions honest. That is why the following officers are being recognized with 2014 Quebec Police Awards:
From the Sûreté du Québec, Lieutenant Martin Cossette and Sergeants Manon Thomassin, Pierre–Luc Morin and Roberto Capone;
From the Montreal Police Department, Lieutenants Michel Leduc and Yannick Collins, as well as Sergeants Martin Chenevert, Martin Desforges and Laval Fillion;
From the Longueuil Municipal Police Service, Sergeant Mario Lauzon.
A plaque of honour is also awarded to analyst Olivier Barchechat, who played a critical role in the work of this extraordinary team of investigators.
Rescued in extremis in Matagami: a canoeist lost in the forest for 3 months is saved by 2 SQ officers
In July 2013, a man named Marco Lavoie set out on an ambitious two-month canoe trip north of Matagami in the deep forests of the Abitibi region of Quebec. But by the end of the first month, a bear had attacked his campsite. Later, Lavoie was wounded by a deer. By the end of the second month, he was unable to carry his canoe. After three months, he had almost nothing left, not even his dog, which he’d killed in order to eat. By the end of the third month, Lavoie was at the end of his rope. He’d lost 90 pounds and had perhaps 24 hours to live.
Then, just like in the movies, a helicopter appeared. Following a three-day search, a siren blared from the sky. The exhausted man dragged himself to the shore. He thought he was dreaming, especially when the helicopter disappeared again. It could only land a kilometre away.
It’s from that distance that two Sûreté du Québec officers entered the forest, scouring the rocky, jagged and icy terrain where, after about 20 minutes, they found Lavoie, who’d spent his remaining energy to reach the shore so he could once again be seen by the helicopter. To bring him back, one officer carried the man on his back while another held him in place because the man was too weak to hold on to the first officer’s neck. We can only imagine the drama of those three individuals, huddled together, struggling through the bush for a full hour.
The desperate canoeist’s life was saved thanks to the tireless efforts of two outstanding SQ officers — Valérie Caron and Alexandre Cotes.
SQ officer saves an infant from choking in the Saguenay
On February 11, 2014, at St-Honoré in the regional municipality of Fjord-du-Saguenay, something nearly unbelievable was about to take place. A Sûreté du Québec constable was parked by the road as he conducted a radar operation. Suddenly, over his radio, he heard an emergency call concerning a baby who was suffocating. By a remarkable coincidence, the officer was parked right next to the home from which the call had been placed. Twenty five seconds later, he was already performing emergency resuscitation to unblock the airways of the nine-month-old boy. (The officer himself was father to a seven-month-old boy.) Despite the emotion of the moment, calm and quiet determination guided the officer in dislodging a piece of a plastic bag which had become stuck in the little boy’s throat.
This could simply have been the story of a good guy in the right place at the right time. But more than that, it was the story of a police officer who made all the difference in the life of that family, the difference between life and death. For his professionalism and steel will, Patrice Marchand is a deserving recipient of a 2014 Quebec Police Award.
SQ officer pulls woman from a burning car in Trois-Rivières
Around midnight in Trois-Rivières on September 4, 2014, a 23-year-old female driver suspected of being drunk behind the wheel skipped the curb on a highway exit. The car rolled several times before coming to a stop, resting on the driver’s side. Then the motor caught fire.
The flames were sufficiently intense to ignite the surrounding trees. The interior of the vehicle filled with smoke. The young woman had only minor injuries but had gone into shock and was unable to exit the vehicle. But the rear window had broken, and Constable Christian Richard of the Sûreté du Québec, who had responded to the crash, managed to slip through, cut the woman’s seat-belt, before pulling her to safety outside the vehicle. Seconds later, the vehicle was completely engulfed in flames.
Using his courage, altruism and sense of duty, the officer saved a life – the noblest act possible for a police officer. It is for this reason that Christian Richard is a worthy recipient of a 2014 Quebec Police Award.
Forty-two Quebec Police Awards recipients — including a Sûreté du Québec team that responded to the 2013 rail tragedy in Lac Mégantic — were honoured for acts of bravery and dedication to duty during the 15th annual Quebec Police Awards gala, held at the Marriott Château Champlain in Montreal on November 21, 2013. The gala, hosted by well-known Quebec humorist Pierre Légaré, recognized 40 police officers, along with two civilians who work in law enforcement, and was attended by more than 300 guests from the province’s police, political and business communities. Representatives from American law enforcement agencies also attended, as did Lac Mégantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche.
POLICE OFFICERS RESPOND TO LAC-MÉGANTIC TRAGEDY
It’s July 6, 2013, another peaceful summer night in the town of Lac-Mégantic. Two officers have intercepted an ATV and two others are filing a report from their vehicle. No one is far from the downtown area, when a massive explosion occurs. The enormity of the event is scarcely lost to the frontline police officers on duty. Rivers of petroleum soon pour from the derailed train cars, and there is clear and present danger of another explosion. The townsfolk they are bound to protect are in mortal danger.
The officers quickly assign one another individual responsibilities to maximize the efficiency of their minimal number. The town would soon be literally on fire. Along Veterans’ Road, Sergeant Boulé alerts citizens to the danger by loud-speaker. And it has to be done fast: an explosion is becoming increasingly likely. Other officers close in on Musi-Café, evacuating individuals from the red and yellow zones. Adding to their task is the urgent need to protect people approaching the smoldering wreckage out of curiosity. In the end, it was a summer night not like any other. But out of the silence, four officers found themselves at the heart of a crisis like no other. And all stepped forward to confront an unprecedented disaster.
For their heroism, we salute the Sûreté du Québec’s François Boulé, Sophie Demers, Jean-François Laliberté and Marc-Antoine Maynard.
SQ FORENSIC IDENTIFICATION DIVISION – LAC-MÉGANTIC
After the Lac-Mégantic disaster, counting the victims and, even more importantly, identifying them became top priorities. Many took part in the daunting tasks of extricating the 47 casualties from the rubble and the forensic identification of their remains. Several dozen specialists from the Sûreté du Québec’s Forensic Identification Division took part in establishing the final tally. Due to toxic leakage, officers were required to wear oxygen tanks under a searing July sun that bounced back into their faces from the surrounding tar. But everyone proved equal to the task, keenly aware of the importance of providing each family the bitter serenity that would help them get on with the grieving of their loved ones.
Steven Montembeault, representing the Division’s Eastern Region, and Pierre Truchon, representing the Western Region, accept the team’s Quebec Police Award on behalf of their colleagues in the Forensic Identification Division.
DRAMATIC POLICE INTERVENTION IN rIMOUSKI
Rimouski, June 25, 2012. Police officers have the unenviable duty of going where no ordinary person would ever want to be. This time, the call came at the very beginning of the night shift, the very first call of the evening at hand. Someone was screaming bloody murder from a car in a parking lot. In the midst of a thunderstorm, no less, with lightning flashing all around – exactly what was happening in the brain of the man the officers were supposed to calm down.
When the police arrived, the man exited his vehicle. He was clearly aggressive but also confused. He made a run for it. Constable Guimond gave chase. He caught the man and there was a brief moment of physical contact. A knife dropped to the ground, followed by Guimond, bleeding from an armpit.
Sometimes, the life you’re saving is a colleague’s, not a stranger’s. But before you can help your partner, today’s Quebec Police Award winner, Constable Robin Lévesque, had to contain the entire situation. So Lévsque first performed his civic duty, handcuffing who might well have ended up a murderer. Next he came to the aid of his colleague, Constable Guimond, located the wound and stopped the blood-flow, all the while communicating with backup to make sure the detained wouldn’t escape. Lots of adrenaline.
Constable Robin Lévesque is at once a man, a police officer and a professional who proved many times over his capacity to take charge in a moment of unimaginable stress, where the life of his friend was in serious jeopardy. For that, we salute Robin Lévesque.
PROJECT « hachoir » ENDS YEARS OF INTIMIDATION
Over recent years, the proximity of Ormstown to the U.S. border had become increasingly worrisome to townsfolk and the surrounding population. Ormstown’s geographic location had made the area prime turf for the very-lucrative cannabis and cigarette-trafficking professions. Through vandalism and intimidation, a local criminal organization and its leader had become an increasing threat to any locals who dared oppose them. One of their targets had even seen his cottage go up in flames. Complaints had been lodged, and the Sûreté du Québec was managing the file. But in September, 2010, a team of investigators was dispatched to finally put an end to the nonsense.
It’s a well-established fact of country life that everyone knows everyone else, which makes it very difficult indeed for undercover cops to stay beneath the local radar very long. How to conduct on-site surveillance when notice of unfamiliar vehicles and their occupants might so quickly find its way to criminal ears? Despite that impediment, the investigation ended in July, 2012 with a guilty plea by the head of the network when confronted by accumulated proof of his activities in court. Besides other evidence, prosecutors had ample photographs of a convoy of snowmobiles at their disposal, images taken by infrared cameras from a distance of three miles by officers camouflaged in the snow. In January, 2012, officers had actually lain in wait for 30 consecutive days to provide supporting evidence of their outdoor surveillance activities.
Apart from their imagination and the modesty demonstrated by the recipients of this award, we wish to underscore their remarkable discretion, as well. Our “heroes in the shadows” managed to infiltrate an area where their actions have had an enduring impact on the daily life of citizens in the community.
To the Sûreté du Québec, we salute Patrick Condon, Daniel Connell, Dany Dufour, Réjean Roy, Cynthia Tremblay and Naji Yared; to the Laval Police Service, we salute Stéphane Racine; and to the Montreal Police Department, we salute Robert Elliott.
A COLD CASE FILE IS FINALLY RESOLVED IN THE OUTAOUAIS
In the community of Chénéville, in the Outaouais, it took 25 years for a senseless murder to be resolved using today’s techniques. While police science has made enormous progress, and methods of investigation have become increasingly sophisticated, it required the tenacity, creativity and talent of members of the Unsolved Crimes unit of the Sûreté du Québec to amass sufficient proof of the guilt of their suspect. And there’s nothing more potent than the sworn resolve of investigators to apprehend a murderer who’d already escaped justice for 25 years. Investigators devised a scenario to induce the murderer to freely admit her crime. They made contact with the suspect, gaining her confidence and cajoled her into discussing her past and admit to the murder of which they knew in their hearts she was guilty. Now that she’s been brought to justice, the tiny community of Chénéville and, above all, the victim’s family can put the troubling circumstances surrounding the death of Marie d’Amour behind them.
We hereby salute the Sûreté du Québec’s Jessie Houle, Jude Joyal, Jacques Lavigne, Sébastien Rousseau and Stéphane Savard.
POLICE SAVE THE LIFE OF A DROWNING CHILD IN sorel-tracy
It was early afternoon on August 17, 2013. The streets were calm and the sun beaming down when a familiar call blared from his loudspeaker. Another child, another swimming pool and another law enforcer rushing to the scene on code “O” priority. (Code “O,” meaning “immediately if not sooner.”) While on the way, the officer learned over the airwaves that the child had regained consciousness. But arriving at the scene, he found the eight-year-old once again motionless, likely due to shock-induced cardiac arrest, surrounded by agitated bystanders and crying kids. After performing standard mouth-to-mouth procedure to ensure the child’s airways were clear, the officer initiated vigorous heart massage. Despite the surrounding commotion, with patience, steely determination and perseverance, it took about a minute for the child’s eyes to open. A young life had been saved.
The officer’s intervention demonstrated not only initiative, but also mastery of CPR technique and an imperturbability that spoke volumes to his entire profession. And for an eight-year-old, those qualities made all the difference between life and death. For that we salute Constable Jonathan St-Arnaud.
Jacques-Cartier BRIDGE RESCUE, STARRING A POLICE VETERAN AND ACTOR MICHEL BARRETTE
Alain Tremblay hails from Chicoutimi and has clocked 17 years with the Sûreté du Québec, of which the last two have been patrolling the Jacques-Cartier and Champlain bridges. His usual beat is the Champlain Bridge.
During the morning of September 12, 2013, Tremblay was attending to his duties at headquarters, not far from the foot of the Jacques-Cartier. He took the call and, being so close, hopped in his vehicle, arriving at the scene two minutes later. Sergeant Pagé was already there — re-assuring, since it meant someone else would be able to control the perimeter, a critical factor since it was 7 a.m. and a dense backlog of traffic was steadily growing. Even cyclists had been prevented from squeezing through.
Officer Tremblay was calmly approaching a young man threatening to throw himself from the top of the bridge when he noticed a well-known Quebec comedian, Michel Barrette, on the scene. He quickly realized that it was likely the presence of Barrette’s familiar face that had thus far prevented the young man from following through with his plan.
Although normal law enforcement procedure requires that civilians be removed from the scene, for obvious reasons Tremblay decided it best to work with Barrette on what was clearly a common goal. Approaching Barrette, Tremblay introduced himself by his first name. “Hey, Michel. I’m Alain. From Chicoutimi.” Bingo! A team was in place.
Alain then opened what would become a near hour-long conversation with the would-be suicide, with frequent asides from Barrette who, without getting in the way, remained steadfastly in the game, a solid and discreet accomplice to Tremblay.
It took 50 minutes of sustained dialogue to convince the distraught young man to clamber down from his perch. Once back on the deck of the bridge, he threw himself into the arms of Officer Tremblay.
And for that we commend Alain Tremblay, with more than a little help from steel-nerved humorist Michel Barrette.
A DRAMATIC TRAFFIC RESCUE IN QUEBEC CITY
It’s the afternoon of May 7, 2013 and a woman and her baby are travelling aboard a vehicle on Raymond Blvd. in the Quebec City suburb of Beauport. The automobile loses control and flips several times before landing in a ditch, only a few centimetres from a 40-foot cliff. The vehicle has landed on its roof and is perched perilously close to the edge of the ravine.
A passerby manages to pull the baby out of the vehicle. Thankfully, the child is unhurt. Constables Picard and Lefebvre are the first officers on the scene and see that the lone female passenger is trapped inside the vehicle.
At any moment, the vehicle could plummet to the bottom of the ravine, but Lefebvre slowly enters the vehicle and cuts the seatbelt with a knife because it is tangled up with the victim and choking her, and the crumpled roof has trapped her head. Picard moves in and helps his colleague pull the driver out of the tight spot.
Quick action and courage by the two police officers and the female passerby in the face of a very critical situation led to the dramatic rescue of this mother. Both she and her baby were taken to hospital and treated.
Quebec Police Service Constables Guillaume Picard and Sara-Émilie Lefebvre are deserving recipients of 2013 Quebec Police Awards.
THE RCMP’S PROJECT COCHE BRINGS DOWN TONY ACCURSO
Patience and a rigorous work ethic paid off for four RCMP officers who led the high-profile Project Coche between 2008 and 2012 — a complicated investigation that brought corruption charges against Montreal-based federal civil servants who had broken the law and betrayed public trust, but which also brought down notorious Montreal businessman Tony Accurso and his associate, Francesco Bruno, with both men charged with commercial fraud.
The Coche team worked closely with investigators with the Canadian Revenue Agency in Montreal, where complaints about corrupt employees had been circulating for a number of years. In the end several hundred criminals charges were laid against a large number of CRA employees. Nine of those employees are currently facing trial on 65 charges, while the CRA proceeded with the firing of several others.
Project Coche is a classic example of how hard work, attention to detail and the meticulous analysis of data brought outstanding results for this team of tireless officers who often conducted their investigation with limited human resources and went beyond the call of duty to bring solid results. The investigation also proved to be a high-profile story, with Tony Accurso finally facing criminal charges, which garnered heavy media coverage.
Receiving Quebec Police Awards are Constables Pierre Breton and Richard Zaour, Sergeant Christian Sabourin and Staff-Sergeant Patrick Marinilli.
A MAJOR DRUG NETWORK GETS A TASTE OF RCMP, LAVAL POLICE AND AMERICAN POLICE COOPERATION
Geography knows no bounds when law enforcement agencies in various jurisdictions and countries team up to nab the bad guys — and Project Argent shows just how far cooperation can go in bringing the results that everyone wants. The RCMP-led investigation began in 2010 on a tip from Laval Police Constable Patrick French, when he met with the RCMP’s Claude Gourgue in St-Jerome to share some information about an organized criminal gang operating in Laval. French had been following the gang’s activities since 2008 and felt that he had enough information to allow the RCMP to press for more investigative work.
Gourgue learned that the gang was heavily involved in drug trafficking and the leader of the group owned a house valued at $800,000 in Saint Sauveur and drove a Porsche. A month into the investigation, Gourge learned that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was hot on the heels of a Canadian drug dealer nicknamed Cosmo, who was traced back to Laval and identified as Jimmy Cournoyer, the notorious leader of the criminal organization fingered by Patrick French. More teamwork between the RCMP and the Laval Police Service led to a surveillance operation on the members of the gang, who were preparing to move a shipment of drugs in three hockey bags. The officers moved in and nabbed 100 pounds of cannabis. A few days later, a warrant allowed police to discover a grow op at a warehouse belonging to the gang. With the seizure and arrests, officers on both sides of the border identified each gang member, making major arrests.
The DEA was particularly effective in linking Cournoyer to heavy gang activity in New York City, where it is alleged that he was head of a major drug-trafficking network since 2007, shipping the narcotics from Montreal through the Akwesasne native reserve near Cornwall to the U.S.
The determination and collaboration of all the officers from various agencies brought down a criminal gang that was running drugs across the U.S. and international destinations. The investigation proved, once again, that smart police work and teamwork bring results that matter.
RCMP Corporal Claude Gourgue and Constable Patrick French of the Laval Police Service are most deserving of 2013 Quebec Police Awards.
RCMP INVESTIGATION DISMANTLES NORBOURG INVESTMENTS SCHEME
Project Asselin began when investigators found it odd that the amount of businessman Eric Asselin’s bankruptcy so closely resembled what he’d illegally obtained through Norbourg Investments, and what certain investors had lost to Norbourg’s fraudulent investment scheme. Of a total of $1,069,000 declared, nearly all had been obtained by Asselin through his association with Norbourg.
The problem was that Asselin had inked an immunity deal with the RCMP in exchange for blowing the whistle on his former partners. So the trick was to identify those elements not covered by the deal — elements that could successfully prove that Asselin’s bankruptcy was as fraudulent as the company of which he was once VP. That wasn’t easy, because the salient details of Asselin’s suspicious personal bankruptcy and his activities while at Norbourg were so closely interconnected.
Investigators were hindered by a shortage of resources. It took over a year for the chief investigator, working alone, to get help, and some avenues of prosecution had to be abandoned altogether for lack of sufficient personnel to track Asselin’s activities. Thousands of documents had to be reviewed — some from Norbourg’s corporate trustees and others from Asselin’s personal trustee – and placed into separate piles so as not to compromise the investigation. Making matters worse was that three different lawyers, each with varying degrees of familiarity with the case, came and went, each time leaving investigators back at Square One.
But then it was discovered that the best witnesses to the fraud were members of Asselin’s own family who’d invested amounts startlingly similar to those undeclared in Asselin’s personal bankruptcy, and who, despite having no idea what their esteemed relative was up to, stood to incriminate themselves should they be called to the stand. But investigators nonetheless proceeded to arrest them and obtain their version of events, with resounding success, and despite objections of the prosecutor, which were fortunately overruled.
What followed was an intricate compilation of 10,000 pages of bank transactions plus 4,458 digital files. And permission to open sealed files from the trustees had to be obtained, as well. Gaining the Crown’s permission to do so was, in itself, difficult and more than a little unorthodox. But investigators’ efforts paid off when nearly $400,000 was located in a trust fund of a Montreal lawyer, which had until then escaped the trustee’s scrutiny. The amounts were subsequently seized. Asselin pled guilty and was condemned to 3 years incarceration, thus avoiding a costly trial.
In the end, about 75 percent of stolen funds were recuperated, and the amount hidden from the trustee will likely grow to almost $1 million — not at all bad for a crazy-making case of bankruptcy fraud.
Quebec Police Awards recipients in this case are presented to retired Corporal Alain Gagné, Constable Dominic Perron and Constable Ariane Forget.
PROJECT CUBAIN NABS PROCEEDS OF CRIME
The RCMP’s Project Cubain led to an investigation of known cocaine trafficker Gilbert Kelly in 2006 and the discovery of how Mr. Kelly was hoping to conceal the considerable proceeds of his crimes. Central to the investigation was a Montreal condominium and its contents, purchased under the name of the suspect’s sister, Mireille, who, along with her husband, were owners of a big-box store in Longueuil, a convenient explanation for the provenance of the assets required to purchase and furnish the property.
Because investigation of Mr. Kelly’s criminal activities was in progress at the time the condo was being purchased, the RCMP’s Integrated Proceeds of Crime division (IPOC) had to delay public verification of the transaction so as not to alert their suspect, about whom sources had provided sufficient information to obtain a restraining order on the condo in question. But on December 7, 2006, the suspect was out of the country, so investigators made their move, obtaining information from the Quebec Land Registry confirming that the condo was in the name of the suspect’s sister, who was subsequently advised of the order.
Investigators began to pore over evidence of even the most minute transactions that might implicate Mr. Kelly as the true owner of the property, verifying even the slightest purchases from various retailers, as well as more substantive interior furnishings. Their painstaking work confirmed that it was the suspect and a companion, not the sister, who had made the actual purchases using significant amounts of cash, and who had also paid for modifications of the premises, albeit under the name of his sister.
IPOC investigators also obtained sufficient information to identify witnesses who could help incriminate Mireille Kelly and prove that she’d done her best to conceal her complicity in the transactions. These facts were presented to the court and a seizure before judgment obtained, despite that the accused was out of the country and had not yet been declared guilty of any wrongdoing. The suspect’s sister attempted numerous legal procedures to reclaim the condo, but to no avail. However, because she’d invested $70K in its purchase and paid condo fees as well as municipal and school taxes, she demanded the re-imbursement of a total of $78K, as provided by Article 461.31 of the Criminal Code which allows that a third party, acting in good faith, to take such recourse.
Except that in the case of Mireille Kelly, the IPOC had obtained information indicating that she was well aware of her brother’s criminal activities and had even visited him in jail. It could also be proven that she knew her brother had no legitimate source of income and that she could easily have deduced that the rent he was paying her was from profits obtained through his drug-trafficking activities. In short: Mr. Kelly’s sister scarcely qualified as a third party acting in good faith, which was later confirmed on appeal to Supreme Court. By rejecting any re-imbursement of funds, the court made a significant decision by disallowing any third party to declare themselves innocent of wrongdoing simply by closing their eyes to it.
Moreover, electronic surveillance activities and an undercover agent had gathered sufficient information as to the precise nature of Gilbert Kelly’s illicit activities and his active participation in the importing of cocaine to obtain an indictment. A warrant for his arrest remains in effect, and his condo has been sold for the amount of $385,000.
Receiving Quebec Police Awards are Corporal Lyse Lévesque, retired Corporal Marie-Hélène Côté, Corporal Jean Harrison, Constable Ann Marcotte, and Pierre Roy of the Public Prosecution Service
MAJOR COMMERCIAL FRAUD RING GOES DOWN FOR THE COUNT
While Project Comptable involved more than a dozen investigators throughout its four years of work, the four RCMP members honoured today are being singled out because of their intense involvement and meticulous research in a case that involved a major commercial fraud involving real estate transactions committed by a group of five individuals who fleeced the federal government and banks of about $18 million through 80 fake transactions.
The major investigation conducted by the RCMP C Division’s Major Fraud Unit of the Commercial Crime Section led to the identification of at least two individuals involved in several cases of mortgage fraud. Montréal residents Kinh Ho Quan, 56, and Hermel Bossé, 58, were arrested and charged with fraud over $5,000.
The accused were successful in circumventing real estate industry controls and standards for the purpose of defrauding individual citizens, several financial institutions and the Government of Canada, including the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which provides mortgage loan insurance.
In exchange for a few thousand dollars and under the pretence of boosting their credit rating, the accused recruited individuals who agreed to act as nominees for the purchase of houses that were to be sold at a profit shortly after.
Project Comptable investigators successfully unravelled the elaborate scheme, using old-fashioned police work and dogged determination, resulting in Corporal Mark David, Constable Martine Louisma, Constable Nikolay Toshkov and RCMP civilian employee Alexandra Samson obtaining 2013 Quebec Police Awards.
Metropolis club shooting officers praised for quick response
Sûreté du Québec Sergeants Stéphane Champagne and Jean-Marc Rochon immediately responded to a call about shots fired behind the Metropolis concert hall on Ste. Catherine Street in Montreal on the night of September 4, 2012. Shots fired. Those were the only details the sergeants, who were inside the packed club, had. Inside the Metropolis, newly-elected Quebec premier Pauline Marois was speaking to supporters. Champagne and Rochon ran to the rear exit and nabbed the gunman, who was carrying a powerful assault weapon. Their rapid response and being where they were needed merits worthy praise. That is why officers Champagne and Rochon are proud Quebec Police Awards recipients.
Teamwork pays off in GRUE and Cranium operations
On May 23, 2012, the RCMP and U.S. Secret Service, jointly with the Sûreté du Québec, raided locations in the Trois-Rivières and Drummondville areas, dismantling in the process a criminal organization that had the capability to produce millions of dollars in counterfeit U.S. bank notes and to distribute them worldwide. The work by the three law enforcement agencies was part of two operations dubbed GRUE and Cranium.
Receiving Quebec Police Awards today were officers Yves Leblanc, Guy Fortin, André Bacon and Tasha Adams of the RCMP, along with Lieutenant Steve Dubé of the SQ, who was responsible for Operation GRUE, and Bernard Gravel, who received an award on behalf of all officers in the division. U.S. Secret Service agent Sima Ghasghaichi also received an honorary Quebec Police Award.
Project Chapitre closes the book on an international card fraud ring
On the morning of May 9, 2012, the RCMP, Sûreté du Québec and the Montreal Police Department executed 61 arrest warrants in the Greater Montreal and northern fringe areas for alleged involvement in a major international payment card fraud ring involving some 100,000 cards. The potential fraud was estimated at close to $100 million. For the first time in Canadian legal history, prosecutors were able to lay criminal organization charges.
The investigation, dubbed Project Chapitre, was initiated in 2008 by the Integrated Counterfeit Enforcement Team (ICET), a joint enforcement team composed of the RCMP and the SQ, working in collaboration with the SPVM and the Canadian Bankers Association. The investigation arose out of a number of complaints received from financial institutions that had observed an increase in reported cases of fraud.
Receiving awards for their work were RCMP Staff Sgt. Yves Leblanc, along with colleagues Serge Bilodeau, David Michaud and Jean-François Paquette, as well as Michele Boily, François Gaudet and Mathieu Plouffe of the Sûreté du Québec, and Jean-François Gravel of the SPVM. An honorary award was presented to Alexandre Hurtubise of the Canadian Bankers Association.
Project Celsius turns up the heat on an international drug ring
Project Celsius raids conducted at the Port of Montreal on April 18, 2012 by the RCMP resulted in the arrest of nine suspects in connection with the importation of a series of hashish shipments totalling 43.3 metric tonnes. This international police operation began in the summer of 2010 and involved the collaboration of law enforcement authorities in Pakistan, Italy, Belgium and the United States.
Receiving awards, from the RCMP, were Éric Grenon, Francis Martin and André Potvin, while Marc Moreau received an award on behalf of the entire team at the Port of Montreal. Martin Prud’homme of the Canada Border Services Agency received an honorary award to salute the work of his agency.
Quebec City Police officers cited for bravery in wild car chase and knife attack by bank robber
On October 3, 2011 Quebec Police Service Constable Yannick Campagna was chasing a bank robbery suspect in his cruiser during a harrowing car chase. Both vehicles came to a stop in a residential area, and Campagna attempted to apprehend the robber. During the struggle, the suspect attempted to stab Campagna with a knife. Campagna’s colleague, Constable Sébastien Roy, fired on the suspect before he had a chance to stab Campagna. Both officers received awards today for their acts of bravery.
SQ officers pull driver out of burning car
On the night of March 21, 2012, Constables Sylvain Richard and Nadine Lefebvre of the Sûreté du Québec reached the scene of a car on fire on Highway 35 in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu. The car was lying on its roof and the doors were locked. The officers smashed a window and unbuckled the female driver. Despite heavy smoke and intense flames and heat, the duo managed to pull the woman out of the car and to safety. For their heroics, the two officers are most deserving of 2012 Quebec Police Awards.
Quick action by SQ officers leads to dramatic water rescue
It was a quiet night in late September 2011 as Sûreté du Québec constables Vincent Bouchard and Marie-Christine Labonne patrolled along Lake St. Louis, west of Montreal. Immediately in front of them, the officers saw a car being driven erratically. As the constables attempted to intercept the vehicle, the driver stepped on the gas and a chase followed. Moments later, the car ended up in the lake and started to sink. Officers Bouchard and Labonne jumped into the frigid water and rescued all of the occupants. For saving lives during a dramatic rescue, Bouchard and Labonne are recipients of 2012 Quebec Police Awards.
Deux-Montagnes cops save young man from suicide
Police officers were called to a home in Deux-Montagnes by a woman, who said her 20-year-old son was suicidal and had locked himself in his bedroom with a knife. The situation was tense. The young man was growing more frantic, and when officers Martin Bouchard and Daniel Pilotte managed to get inside the bedroom, the youth poked himself in the neck with the knife and was preparing to slice his own throat. The officers didn’t hesitate. They immediately grabbed the young man and his knife, thus saving his life. The quick action by the officers was recognized through the presentation of Quebec Police Awards today.
Going beyond the call of serving the public in Matapédia
She’s been actively involved in her community since 1996. She’s an accomplished athlete, a dedicated fundraiser and a tireless event organiser for many community groups. The years have gone by and she has not slowed down in her commitment to her community of Matapédia. Now, the police officer is turning her sideline fundraising passion to Christmas – more precisely, a Christmas CD, where she sings to raise money for community groups. Annie Lavoie of the Sûreté du Québec exemplifies the true spirit that every police officer seeks: serving the public. Her commitment to those who need help is deserving of a 2012 Quebec Police Award.
Closing the books on the 1995 Joleil Campeau cold case
There is, in the world of law enforcement, teams of investigators who work in the shadows. These officers focus their attention on cold cases, trying to connect the past to the present. One such investigator is Martin Saillant of the Laval Police Service, who helped crack the cold case involving the death of nine-year-old Joleil Campeau. The young girl was last seen alive near her home in Laval’s Auteuil district on June 12, 1995. She was found dead in a swampy wooded area near her home four days after her mother reported her missing. The case went cold for several years, despite the fact that DNA samples were found at the scene. New technology and the creation of a cold case unit prompted Laval police to reopen the case in April 2005, along with the investigation into two other killings. Laval Police charged a 37-year-old suspect in late June 2011 – 16 years after the murder. For his work in bringing justice to the victim’s family, Martin Saillant was awarded a 2012 Quebec Police Award.
The selected Quebec Police Awards recipients were honoured for their courage, their team spirit, perseverance and dedication toward their communities. They included:
- Constable Martin Paul of the Mashteuiatsh Police Service, for saving the life of a woman, whose throat was slit during a domestic dispute in the Lac St. Jean region (July 31, 2010);
- Constable Patrick Hansen and Sergeant Dominique Théosmy of the Montreal Police Department, for locating a young girl whose mother was wanted for child abduction (September 15, 2011);
- Constables Farid Laghdir, Charles Lavallée, Jean-Nicolas Lussier, Daniel Touchette and Daniel Raymond of the Montreal Police Department, for saving a man trying to commit suicide on the Ville Marie Autoroute (September 3, 2010);
- Alain Gelly, for his years of dedicated service to his community and for being a true ambassador for the Lévis Police Service;
- Assistant Commissioner Alphonse MacNeil of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, for his leadership and team spirit while overseeing the deployment of security personnel during the 2010 G8 and G20 summits in Toronto;
- Martin Lessard of the Sûreté du Québec, for his role in saving lives through 10 years of coordinating the transportation of human organs for urgent transplants;
- Staff-Sergeant Pierre Mailloux of the RCMP, for his dedication and tireless efforts in preventing illegal drugs from hitting the streets of his community over the past 40 years;
- Simon Vanier of the Mashteuiatsh Police Service, for saving the life of a man who was choking while eating dinner (June 3, 2010);
- Constables Dominic Lambert and Anne-Marie Renaud and Sergeant William Trudel of the Quebec City Police Service, for saving the life of a man who had choked on a toothbrush (September 30, 2011);
- Constables Steven Martel and Maxime St-Pierre of the Sûreté du Québec, for successfully pulling an elderly man from his burning car (February 24, 2011);
- Kevin Lafrance, Caroline Lapointe and Christian Venne of the Sûreté du Québec, for their quick action in preventing a blood bath related to a disgruntled man who threatened his ex girlfriend (September 16, 2011);
- Operation Écrevisse, a massive anti-crime operation in the Val-d’Or region, involving police officers from the Sûreté du Québec’s detachment in the MRC de la Vallée-de-l’Or, the investigations support services division, and the criminal investigations division.
- Marielle Harvey and José Blanchet of the Sûreté du Québec, who oversaw police work that brought down an organized crime network in the Abitibi region (Operation Écrevisse).
Guests from the police, legal, economic and business communities attended the gala. Among them: Marie Gagnon from the École Nationale de Police; Gilles Plante, representing the president of the Quebec Federation of Municipalities, president of the public security, transportation and information technologies commission and prefect for the MRC de la Vallée-du-Richelieu and mayor of McMasterville; Pierre Veilleux, president of the Quebec Provincial Police Association; Bernard Lerhe, president of the Quebec City Police Brotherhood; Francis Fox and Pierre H. Cadieux, senators and former solicitors general of Canada; senator Pierre Claude Nolin; retired senator Lucie Pépin; Sylvie Tousignant, assistant director general for police matters for the Quebec Ministry of public security; Claude Trudel, member of the Executive Committee with the City of Montreal, responsible for public security and official representative for Mayor Gérald Tremblay; Francine Morin, prefect for the MRC des Maskoutains and mayor of Saint-Bernard-de-Michaudville; Suzanne Roy, treasurer of the executive committee for the Union of Quebec Municipalities and mayor of Ste. Julie; Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union; Stéphane Lemaire, president of the union representing Quebec correctional services peace officers; Thomas Mulcair, federal MP for Outremont; lawyer Julius Grey; Régis Falardeau, assistant director general, Sûreté du Québec; Inspectors and directors of stations 21 and 33 of the Montreal Police Department, Alain Simoneau and André-Guy Lamothe; and representatives of Quebec Police Awards sponsors, Belairdirect and the Caisse Desjardins des policiers et policières.
19-2 on the scene!
Guests at the gala were in for a wonderful surprise midway through the event when two patrol officers appeared on the stage to salute their “colleagues”. Their names: Nick Berroff (Réal Bossé) and Ben Chartier (Claude Legault), the popular duo from the hit television series, 19-2 – a series that is attracting much praise from the law enforcement community. Friends of Pierre Légaré, Bossé and Legault spoke to the gala, thanking the police officers in attendance for their hard work. The actors then posed for pictures and signed autographs after receiving a standing ovation.
A $6,000 donation to the Foundation of Stars
Each year, proceeds from the Quebec Police Awards gala are presented by the Quebec Provincial Police Association’s benevolent fund and the Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association to the Foundation of Stars. A $6,000 cheque was presented during the gala to a representative from the Foundation of Stars, which supports children’s health research in Quebec and provides children a chance to grow up healthy.
Football program lures kids away from the street
Montreal Police Service
For the past 15 years, a Montreal Police Service community initiative has brought countless young people who live in underprivileged areas of the city together to play football. This outstanding initiative has successfully lured youth away from a life of crime and gangs through recreational activities.
The man behind the program is Sgt.-Det. George Widz, a tireless visionary who has volunteered his time and energy to keeping the project exciting and worthwhile. Indeed, Mr. Widz launched the project, dubbed Come play with my gang as part of the Access Football organization, and the program has been met with stunning success.
The program has been such a success that players from the McGill University Redmen football club have provided their skills as coaches and as mentors. Access Football has also allowed the Montreal Police Service to strengthen its links with companies and community groups who are involved in the project.
Sgt.-Det. Widz decided in 2006 to expand the program, bringing football to several primary schools in the city’s southwest region, where poverty is quite high. From the project’s inception, Mr. Widz has proudly presented himself as a Montreal police officer who believes in the future of young people, and has steadfastly insisted on the project being associated with the Montreal Police Service. More than 300 youth participated in the spring and fall seasons of 2006, and that number is expected to rise in 2007.
Access Football is a remarkable project in which the Montreal Police Service has created positive connections with young people who feel lured by the street. As a result, these youths have been introduced to drug prevention programs and mentorship, thus keeping them away from street gangs and crime.
For his dedication to youth, for his commitment to his community and for his tireless volunteer work, we honour George Widz with a 2007 Quebec Police Award.
More than 30 years of selfless dedication to helping drug-addicted youth
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
At age 55, RCMP Constable Carol Locas has not lost any of the passion for life and human generosity that has been his trademark since joining the national police force more than 33 years ago. His years of dedication to the community of St. Jérôme’s youth are well known across the province among police and community groups, and serve as an example of the ideal mentorship program for young people caught in the grips of drug and alcohol addiction.
In fact, even with retirement looming in 2009, Constable Locas, who heads the Drugs and Organised Crime Awareness Service in the Laurentians town of St. Jérôme, says he has no intention of walking away from the volunteer work he has carried out in the community, by visiting schools and being a mentor to kids in need. And with Locas still in the picture after retirement, it means teens will continue to have the smiling police officer to turn to in their time of need.
In May 2006, Constable Locas was invited to Rideau Hall in Ottawa by Governor General Michaëlle Jean and presented with the Order of Merit of the Police Forces. The Order recognizes conspicuous merit and exceptional service by members and employees of the Canadian police forces whose contributions extend beyond protection of the community.
While Carol Locas’s accomplishments are plenty, it is his volunteer work that has captured the hearts of community groups, teachers and organizations that work with troubled youth. Maison Portage of St. Jérôme has recognized his efforts in helping kids fight drugs, and continues to uphold the mentorship programs that he has introduced.
Mr. Locas is also recognised across the province for his efforts in raising funds for community groups through the Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association and its charitable foundation, which donates thousands of dollars annually.
For Carol Locas – an avid cyclist and sports enthusiast – the key to reaching troubled kids is through showing them a passion for life. “I believe in that, and I want to show kids how to find it because everyone has a passion.”
For Carol Locas, the job of being a police officer is first and foremost to help people. “When someone calls 911, you want to be there for them. And that’s what it’s all about,” says Locas.
In recognition of his 30 years of selfless dedication to young people and for bringing hope to the lives of troubled teens, we honour Constable Carol Locas with a 2007 Quebec Police Award.
Public service goes beyond the badge
Sûreté du Québec
For all police officers, the decision to embark on a law enforcement career is motivated by the desire to serve the public. It is this desire that energizes front-line police officers as they conduct their work, day in and day out.
Constable Bruno Beaulieu is an athlete and a man with a big heart. Over and above his job as a Sûreté du Québec police officer, he has also dedicated himself to supporting Olympic events for the handicapped. Mr. Beaulieu will represent all Quebec police officers when he travels to Shanghai in 2009 to carry the Olympic flame during the fund-raising Law Enforcement Torch Run. Serving the public is more than just a job for Bruno Beaulieu; it is a duty and a life philosophy that he carries with him in everything that he does.
For his selfless dedication to helping the public and for his commitment to social causes, we honour Bruno Beaulieu with a 2007 Quebec Police Award.
Community involvement is solid as a Rock for this Saguenay police officer
Sécurité publique de Saguenay
Rock Gilbert has served as a police officer in the Saguenay region since 1978. He has worked in various capacities within the merged towns of Jonquière and Saguenay and its municipal police services, and today is the officer in charge of community relations and crime prevention. Mr. Gilbert is dedicated and committed to his community and to his fellow officers. Citizens continue to support him and appreciate his exceptional dedication, his availability and his professionalism.
His accomplishments are many, but here are a few of his community involvements:
- He has been a member of the Jonquière Pee-Wee organizing committee for 21 years;
- In 1997, he launched a police museum inside the Jonquière police station. When the station moved to a new location in 2005, he coordinated a project that launched a historical centre dedicated to the Saguenay police for local citizens and history buffs;
For the past six years, he has worked with groups that assist immigrants so that their integration into Quebec society might be facilitated.
Rock Gilbert has merited recognition for his police work:
- He was officially recognized by the local Member of Parliament in 1996 for his public relations work during the Saguenay floods;
- He was presented with citations of merit by the local suicide prevention centre in 2002 and 2004;
He was a Jacques Couture Prize finalist in 2007 for his work in promoting intercultural unity. The prize was presented by Quebec’s ministry of immigration and cultural affairs.
For his exceptional dedication and his community involvement, we honour Rock Gilbert with a 2007 Quebec Police Award.
United police investigation brings down drug trafficking network
Sûreté du Québec
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Timiskaming Police Service
Ontario Provincial Police
Criminal networks are like sci-fi monsters – you can cut off their heads, but they keep growing back. That is why police agencies must work harder and more ingeniously, and it is why police investigations into drug trafficking activity by criminal organisations are so lengthy and difficult. There is the initial information-gathering phase where the identities of the networks’ leaders must be identified, as well as the rest of the players, including suppliers and dealers on the street, the location of the drugs and how they are transported. The second phase involves police operations – everything from infiltrating the gang, and physical, video and electronic surveillance. And finally, there comes the day when police conduct their raids. In the case of Operation Abords, 16 people were arrested and convicted to prison sentences.
Operation Abords would never have ended successfully had the Sûreté du Québec, the RCMP, First Nations’ police services and the Ontario Provincial Police not united their resources and personnel. This strong unity made the difference in bringing order back to the affected communities. Maintaining public order is a responsibility that surpasses the colour and logo of the uniform. Quebec Police Awards were created to salute professionalism and dedication to duty. In some cases, the awards are presented to individuals and sometimes they are presented to teams. After all, police work is also teamwork, where each individual brings his/her energy and talent.
For their remarkable work, professionalism and tenacity in bring Operation Abords to its successful conclusion, in which 16 members of a criminal network were sent to jail, we present Quebec Police Awards to Sûreté du Québec constables Claude Barrette, Serge Bertrand, André Chartré, Daniel Gauthier, Stéphane Mailloux, Christian Michaud, François Pichette and Alain Trottier, and to constables Isabelle Coursol and Jonathan Moreau of the RCMP, and to Robert Millette of the Timiskaming Police Service, and to Yvan Godin of the Ontario Provincial Police.
Dynamism, teamwork and professionalism
Sûreté du Québec
Competence, performance, dedication and self-sacrifice are the defining characteristics that embody all Quebec Police Awards recipients. With less than 10 years of service under his belt, Sûreté du Québec Constable Bruno Soucy is already a model of inspiration for his colleagues on the front lines. Indeed, his skills as an investigator and his qualities as a person were particularly evident during two major investigations – operations Crystal and Cleopatra. These two specific investigations required the contribution of police officers from various services and demanded their energy, skills and consistency for periods of months, and even years.
As a dedicated investigator, Bruno Soucy showed dynamism, teamwork and exemplified his ability to forge strong ties with law enforcement officers from various police agencies during the length of both operations. He also demonstrated great generosity and professionalism. For all that he has brought to the job of policing, we present Bruno Soucy with a 2007 Quebec Police Award.
Operation Chamonix highlights clever police work in the dismantling of a Mexican drug network at the port of Montreal
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
On May 28, 2007 a vigilant Canada Border Services Agency guard searched a container at the port of Montreal and discovered approximately 160 kilograms of cocaine hidden in buckets of frozen mango purée. The container, which had arrived from Mexico, was immediately seized and RCMP investigators were called in. This investigation, dubbed Project Chamonix, led to an international probe into the trafficking of cocaine from Mexico to Canada. Finally, on June 9, 2007, the leading figures of this cocaine cartel were arrested after being caught red-handed, as part of a massive sweep by RCMP officers. This operation also brought a swift end to a Mexican criminal organization that had been operating in Canada since 2005.
The undercover operation, orchestrated by the RCMP’s anti-drug unit, with the participation of the Marine Security Enforcement Team and the port of Montréal Security Group, allowed the drug traffickers to believe that the cocaine had successfully been brought into Montreal from Mexico, and was being distributed across Canada.
Using sophisticated policing techniques and ingenious work, RCMP investigators were able to replace the cocaine in the mango purée with a placebo product before allowing the large shipment to be picked up from the port of Montreal. All police had to do was sit back and wait for the shipment to be picked up by traffickers – the entire operation tracked and observed by RCMP officers. Officers then moved in and plucked the criminals, one by one.
“It was done in an environment where it is very difficult for criminals to detect a police presence,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. André Potvin, responsible for Operations of C Division’s Drug Section.
The clever police operation led to the arrest of four Mexicans, who had created a bogus company in Montreal called Quality Mexport that facilitated the illegal importation of the drug into Montreal.
“This investigation brought an end to this international network and prevented nearly two million cocaine doses from hitting the streets of Montreal, Quebec and Canada,” said Potvin. “Furthermore, this operation confirmed that police officers are keeping a close eye on anyone who wants to use the port of Montreal for any illicit means.”
“A total of 20 investigators dedicated long hours every day to see this operation to its successful conclusion,” said Potvin. “The officers being honoured by Quebec Police Awards are being particularly singled out for their leadership and outstanding work. These police officers played first-rate roles in the success of this operation.”
Two of the officers cannot be identified, as they are still involved in undercover work.
For having distinguished themselves with leadership and for their extraordinary work in coordinating a first-rate plan in the success of this operation, we present the following police officers with 2007 Quebec Police Awards: Sergeants Guy Lemay, René Beauchesne and Serge Bertrand, Constable Martin Lemoine and agents X and Y.
A dramatic rescue on the edge of a cliff
Roussillon Inter-municipal Police Service
At 3:30 on the morning of January 18, 2006, officers with the Roussillon Inter-municipal Police Service attempt to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation in Delson. The driver refuses to stop and a chase is under way. Officers stop the pursuit because of the dangerous road conditions, but visual contact is maintained with the suspect’s vehicle. The driver loses control of his vehicle, which comes to a halt. However, moments later, the suspect runs away from the vehicle and jumps into a river, where the ice has given way under his weight. The man manages to reach the shore on the other side before making a run for the woods.
Maxime Paquette and his colleagues arrive on the scene. They see that the suspect has sustained cuts to his hands after jumping over a barb-wired fence and sliding down a hill. Paquette and his partner climb over the fence and locate the man, who is struggling to hang on to a ledge of the cliff that overlooks a sudden, 200-foot drop. The man complains that he cannot feel his legs, as hypothermia is setting in, and that he will lose consciousness. Without hesitation, Paquette decides to perform a rescue attempt. The surface of the hill is very icy, so the officer decides to tie a pair of ropes around his waist, while his colleagues hold on to the other ends of the ropes as he makes the descent. Paquette reaches the injured man and grabs hold of him just as he loses consciousness. Paquette is having trouble holding the man as the severe weather and ground conditions make the operation that much more difficult. It is very windy and hail is falling, as Paquette is only about a dozen inches from the edge of the cliff. A rope is tied to the man’s pants. Suddenly the individual regains consciousness and becomes agitated before fainting again. An hour passes before fire fighters finally reach the scene and rescue the individual. Paquette, meanwhile, manages to climb the hill with the help of his colleagues. Both Paquette and the man are taken to hospital.
For the determination and courage that he showed in saving a man in severe conditions, a 2007 Quebec Police Award is presented to Sgt.-Det. Maxime Paquette.
Two rookies show determination to save a suicidal man
Sûreté du Québec
Maintaining public order is the first and foremost mandate of all police services – a mandate whose actions can sometimes be perceived in a negative light by the public. But when those actions end up saving lives, the reaction is unanimous. Sûreté du Québec constables Guillaume Cotte and Danick Dubé are two young police officers who have only merely begun their careers. But on a warm July 8, 2007, they quickly showed that they are guided by a strong motivation to serve the public. The two rookies were called to a residence to check out a report that someone wanted to commit suicide. On the scene, Cotte and Dubé conducted an intense search of the residence.
Upon hearing a car’s engine running in the garage, the officers noticed that every access to the garage was locked. Using a shovel and a crowbar, the constables tore a small hole in a door to reach the lock. However, the suicidal man barricaded himself, prompting the constables to keep pounding away at the door until the hole was big enough to enter. The rookies immediately entered the garage and successfully pulled out the man.
For their relentless work in saving a suicidal man, and for the passion that they showed in carrying out their public duty, we honour Guillaune Cotte and Danick Dubé with 2007 Quebec Police Awards.
Two constables save a suicidal man twice
Quebec City Police Service
On September 23, 2005, the Quebec Police Service receives a call from a suicide prevention centre about a man who is threatening to kill himself on the Plains of Abraham. The call is tricky for police, as there is no information about the precise location of the despondent individual.
Constables Christine Deraîche and Marie-Ève Gosselin respond to the call, but when they reach the scene, the officers have very few details about the specific whereabouts of the man. They then successfully locate a vehicle that matches the description of the man’s car. The two constables conduct a thorough search of the area around the car before noticing a flickering blue light coming from behind a set of bushes. The light is coming from a cell phone. As the constables approach the bushes, they see that a man is hanging from a tree. They immediately take action, with Const. Gosselin untying the knot from the rope as Const. Deraîche lifts the man, until they are able to place him on the ground. The officers take the man’s vital signs. He is still alive and regains consciousness before the ambulance arrives. The man, however, grows very agitated and a scuffle breaks out with the constables. The man then makes a run for a nearby cliff and attempts to jump, but Gosselin and Deraîche tackle him to the ground, narrowly falling off the cliff themselves.
For the professionalism and exemplary empathy that they showed in dealing with a very desperate man, we honour Christine Deraîche and Marie-Ève Gosselin with 2007 Quebec Police Awards.
A true leader and a man of vision for police tactical operations
Montreal Police Service
Richard Thouin joined the Montreal Police Service on August 5, 1985, and has spent 17 of the past 21 years as a member of the Montreal Police Tactical Squad. On September 13, 2006, during the tragic shooting at College Dawson, scores of police officers who raced to the scene were able to count on the outstanding training that they had received from Richard Thouin. That’s because in the wake of two shooting tragedies at the École Polytechnique and Concordia University, Sgt. Thouin took the initiative to identify new measures that the Montreal Police Service needed to take to respond to any potential future mass shootings. He underwent specialized training and then brought that expertise to fellow Montreal police officers. Richard Thouin trained members of the tactical team and the department’s community intervention units.
Richard Thouin currently heads a committee of the Montreal Police Service that oversees the implementation of emergency response programs and the training of senior officers in charge of emergency response teams. He has played a pioneering role in the training of groups specialized in hostage rescues. He was also a member of a provincial government committee studying high-risk issues, as part of a public security ministry’s initiative into emergency preparedness.
In the spring of 2005, Richard Thouin introduced a workshop that dealt with the coordination and tactical responses during high-risk incidents. He is also one of the planners behind armed intervention response protocols for the Montreal Police Service. He is often selected to be the department’s tactical unit spokesperson during media interviews. Sgt. Thouin always shows great leadership and poise – two qualities which served him well during the four years that he served as a municipal councillor in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac.
His exceptional work resulted in Richard Thouin being named special advisor to the tactical squad commander during major incidents, as well as serving as interim commander on several occasions.
In saluting his dedication to public security and for his expertise in the development of emergency response measures, we honour Richard Thouin with a 2007 Quebec Police Award.
GUN CONTROL COALITION HONOURED FOR ITS WORK IN PROVIDING A SAFER ENVIRONMENT FOR ALL CANADIANS
Unprecedented tragedy struck Canada on a cold December 6, 1989 when 14 young women were gunned down at Montreal’s École Polytechnique by a man armed with a military-style semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 rifle. In the wake of this deadly mass murder, a movement swept across Canada, calling for better gun control measures to be imposed by the federal government. École Polytechnique students launched a nation-wide petition demanding an end to military weapons, while a group was formed in Toronto that began looking at proposals to control and tighten gun circulation and ownership. Thus the Coalition for Gun Control was founded in 1991 through the efforts of Wendy Cukier, a law teacher at Ryerson University in Toronto and by Heidi Rathjen, a student at École Polytechnique. The Coalition’s mission was to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and crimes caused by guns.
Through its determination and relentless focus, the Coalition successfully sensitized the federal government to adopt laws calling for stricter gun controls, despite steady lobbying on the part of pro-gun organizations. The Coalition’s efforts led to the following developments:
- In 1991, Bill C-17 tightened restrictions and established controls on any firearms that had a military or paramilitary appearance. It also established new rules about procedures governing gun ownership and the secure storage of weapons. The bill prohibited certain military weapons and high-capacity magazines for semi-automatic and automatic rifles.
- In 1995, Bill C-68 introduced new, stricter, gun control legislation. Amongst others things, the legislation provided registration of all firearms.
- In 2000, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that the gun control law was constitutional.
Between 2003 and 2006, the Gun Control Coalition introduced a crime prevention program in partnership with the National Crime Prevention Centre and other organizations. The program was aimed at preventing crime, violence and suicide, and to shed light on the effects of weapons on victims of crime.
Today, the Coalition has the support of more than 350 organizations, including Quebec’s police unions and associations.
Because of the tireless work of the Gun Control Coalition, Canadian society is now a more secure and conscious environment. Indeed, the number of deaths linked to guns is at its lowest rate in 30 years and, in comparison to 1991, shows 500 less fatalities annually.
For its remarkable contribution to improving the safety of communities across Canada, we present a Quebec Police Award to the Gun Control Coalition.
An unshakable sense of solidarity
Montreal Police Department
At 7 p.m. on July 19, 2006, the Montreal Police Department SWAT team is called to back up the force’s West-end anti-drug unit in the arrest of a suspect, who is possibly armed and dangerous. As police officers position their vehicles during the takedown in the city’s west end, the suspect suddenly opens fire on the officers, which forces them to drastically change their plan of attack. Gunfire is exchanged and Constable Daniel Moisan, who is driving the police vehicle, is struck in the back by a bullet fired by the suspect. Despite the extreme danger facing his colleagues, an injured Moisan jumps out of his vehicle and continues to cover his colleagues until the operation is finished. The officer is then taken to hospital to be treated for his injury. For their professionalism and their unshakable sense of solidarity, Constables Daniel Moisan, Daniel Joly and Sergeant Claude Gosselin are presented with Quebec Police Awards.
A young girl is saved from the grips of a disturbed assailant
Montreal Police Department
On September 2, 2005 a 7-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother are playing with their friends outside their apartment complex in Anjou. At about 6 p.m., the girl decides to go home. Her brother goes home at 7:40 p.m., but his sister still hasn’t arrived. Police are called and an apartment-by-apartment search begins. A tenant in apartment 309, meanwhile, refuses to co-operate. The SWAT team is called in to assist with the search. Two constables decide to talk with the janitor of the building where the missing girl and her family live. Officers decide to question the 63-year-old tenant in apartment 309 again, and this time the man finally admits that the girl is inside his apartment. At about midnight, police find the girl, her hands bound behind her back, and her mouth stuffed with a paper towel, hidden under several blankets in the man’s bedroom. Bruises cover the girl’s face – the result of being repeatedly struck with a hammer – but she is sent to hospital and recovers. For their professionalism, their tenacity and determination, Quebec Police Awards are presented to Constables Grégory Rocheleveque, Gilles Lavoie and Richard Clément.
A suicidal man is saved by two police officers
Châteauguay Police Service
On July 26, 2006, the Châteauguay Police Service receives a call about a man who is threatening to set himself and his Maplegrove Street residence on fire. When Constables Claude Fréchette and Nicolas Veilleux go to the house, they are met by three crying children, who say their father wants to commit suicide. The officers get the children out of the house and call for backup. They break down the door of the bedroom, where the man is located, and officers immediately smell gasoline. The man has drenched himself and the entire room with the flammable liquid, and the man is kneeling on his bed, holding a lighter in one hand and a knife to his stomach. Constable Fréchette stands at the door’s entrance and starts to talk with the despondent individual, while Veilleux leads the children back outside the house and then asks the fire department and an ambulance to come to the house, but to refrain from using their sirens and lights so the man won’t panic. Veilleux brings a garden hose near the bedroom, fills the tub with water and places wet towels near his colleague. Fréchette, meanwhile, continues to negotiate with the man while his colleague keeps an eye on the children, establishes contact with Beauharnois firefighters, informs other police officers who have arrived, and maintains contact with Fréchette. Twice, the frantic man asks to close the door so that he can set himself on fire, but Fréchette refuses and maintains negotiations with him for over an hour. The man finally agrees to abandon his suicide bid and is taken to the Anna Laberge Hospital, where he suffers a heart attack due to a drug overdose and gasoline intoxication. The man is saved by hospital personnel. For their patience and exemplary determination, which led to a desperate man’s life being saved, Constables Claude Fréchette and Nicolas Veilleux are presented with Quebec Police Awards.
Teamwork overcomes in seniors’ residence fire evacuation
Sûreté du Québec, MRC Beauharnois-Salaberry district
On the evening of January 11, 2006, eight members of the MRC Beauharnois-Salaberry district of the Sûreté du Québec take a few moments before their night shift to review evacuation procedures during a high-risk intervention. The move proves to be a fateful one. Only a few hours later – at 5 a.m. on January 12 – these same police officers are called to a major fire at a seniors’ home in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. Upon their arrival, the officers can see residents trapped in the top-floor windows. Time is of the essence, as flames have already attacked the staircase and no one can get down. While seniors are using ladders to escape, police officers enter the burning building and search every unit. Officers decide to order the evacuation of the adjacent buildings in case they catch fire. The decision is wise, as three neighbouring structures are eventually destroyed by flames. Officers succeed in knocking down 27 doors in search of trapped seniors. Two residents are seriously burned, but everyone is saved, including a resident who suffers a heart attack. For their superb teamwork and professional dedication, and for their quick intervention and their sense of initiative, Marco Chamberland, Nicole Champagne, Éric Couturier, Patrice Gauthier, Yannick Godin, Sandra Morin, Daniel Richard and Marie-Claude Rochefort are presented with Quebec Police Awards.
A battered woman is saved in the nick of time
Sherbrooke Police Service
On February 26, 2006, Sherbrooke Police Service dispatcher Richard Pariseau alerts an officer that a woman wants to file a complaint of domestic violence against her ex-husband. Pariseau calls the woman to make an appointment, but a man who answers the phone says the woman can’t talk to him because she is in the bathroom. Parizeau calls back a few minutes later and the man informs him that the woman doesn’t wish to speak to police. The officer doesn’t like what he hears and sends a police vehicle to the residence. Constables Karine Côté and Christian Bourret knock at the door, but there is no answer and the doors and windows are all locked. The officers speak with a neighbour, who tells them she thinks the woman has left the apartment. The officers then speak with the building’s janitor to get the keys to the woman’s apartment. The keys, however, don’t open the front or back doors, so a locksmith is brought in. Once inside, the officers notice that the apartment is empty and the bathroom is locked. The locksmith successfully opens the door and officers find the half-conscious woman inside, on the floor. She is visibly intoxicated, and has been beaten and left for dead by her ex-husband. The woman is rushed to hospital and her life is saved. For their professionalism and the exemplary determination they showed in saving an injured woman, Constables Richard Pariseau, Karine Côté and Christian Bourret are presented with Quebec Police Awards.
Professional dedication and personal commitment
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
On June 2, 2006, a 56-year-old sergeant with a spotless 32-year record retires from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – a majority of those years with the anti-drug unit in Montreal. His peers recognize him for his tenacious investigative and surveillance work with many major cases, including Project Chevalin and Project Chabanel. But he is also honoured for his commitment to the Maison Victor-Gadbois, a non-profit home near Ste. Julie, where, every second Saturday, for the past eight years, he has befriended and provided care for hundreds of people dying of cancer. Despite being retired, he says he has no intention of giving up his visits to Maison Victor-Gadbois. For the professional conscience he always demonstrated through countless investigations and for the compassion he continues to show through his volunteer work at Maison Victor-Gadbois, Sergeant Richard Arguin is presented with a Quebec Police Award.
A perilous rescue at St. Joseph’s Oratory
Montreal Police Department
On May 30, 2005, a female Montreal Police Department constable responds to a suicide call at St. Joseph’s Oratory on Queen Mary Rd. When she reaches the scene, the officer sees a woman sitting dangerously on the edge of a roof, holding on to the railing with only one arm, with her legs dangling in mid-air. The constable goes to the roof, climbs over a fence and approaches the suicidal woman. The officer grabs the despondent woman and prevents her from falling 20 metres to her death. She spends the next few minutes holding the victim before finally being able to pull her to safety. For saving a citizen during a very perilous rescue effort, Constable Nathalie Hervieux is presented with a Quebec Police Award.
A stunning undercover operation
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Project Chabanel proved to be one of the biggest cases for the RCMP in 2006 – an investigation that put an end to an organized criminal network that had operated for more than 30 years. The case finally came to a close after 18 months of work under extremely dangerous conditions, with the arrest of key members of the West End Gang. The undercover operation was unique in that members of the RCMP’s Drug Section successfully infiltrated the notorious West End Gang and convinced drug dealers to allow undercover officers to pick up massive quantities of hashish shipments on the high seas so that the drugs could be illegally smuggled into Canada. On May 10, 2006 RCMP officers sailed to the west coast of Africa and picked up 22.5 tonnes of hashish valued at $225 million. About 30 investigators worked on the case, but according to Staff Sgt. André Potvin of C Division’s Drug Section, seven of these RCMP members “distinguished themselves.” For their professionalism and their determination, Quebec Police Awards are presented to Corporal Guy Massé and Constables Michael Yard, Maxime St-Fleur, Josée Dauphinais and Marcus Duheme. Two other undercover officers are also honoured, but cannot be identified.
Heroes emerge in Dawson College shooting
Montreal Police Department
At 12:45 p.m. on September 13, 2006, Montreal Police Department Constables Anne-Marie Dicaire and Alain Diallo are called to Dawson College to investigate a drug-related incident. Upon their arrival, they are faced with massive chaos, as a crazed gunman has opened fire on students outside the de Maisonneuve Blvd. school. The officers follow the armed suspect inside the main building, becoming moving targets themselves. Sergeant Martin Dea arrives on the scene and takes charge of the police operation. He decides that a multi-officer raid is too risky and instructs two police officers to try to approach the suspect. Constables Denis Côté manages to get close to the gunman, but his colleague can’t approach, as the suspect is firing multiple rounds of ammunition in his direction. Côté is joined by Constable Marco Barcarolo. The crazed gunman is confined behind a row of vending machines in the cafeteria and cannot move. Côté finally gets a clear view of the suspect and shoots. This neutralizes the gunman, who then turns the gun on himself, putting an end to the tragedy, which results in the death of 18-year-old Dawson student Anastasia De Sousa. Because of the courage and professionalism they demonstrated on that day, and because they succeeded in saving countless lives, we are proud to present Quebec Police Awards to the following five Montreal Police Department officers: Constables Anne-Marie Dicaire, Alain Diallo, Denis Côté and Marco Barcarolo, and Sergeant Martin Dea.
Saluting 200 unsung heroes in Dawson drama
Montreal Police Department
Chaos breaks out on September 13, 2006 when a crazed gunman opens fire on students at Montreal’s Dawson College – a tragedy that sees a swift and dramatic response from about 200 police officers, who race to the scene from across the city. In the end, several hundred people – both police and non-police personnel – were involved in this operation, which was carried out according to individual competencies, and despite extreme difficulties. In only a few short minutes, crisis planners and analysts were on the scene to support frontline police officers. Hundreds of officers kept watch over a tense city that day, ready to intervene at a moment’s notice. For the selfless support and team spirit shown by police and non-police personnel of the Montreal Police Department on September 13, 2006, we honour all who worked tirelessly on that day to help put an end to a tragic event at Dawson College. A Quebec Police Award is presented to the personnel that worked on the operation. Accepting the crystal on their behalf is Jean-Guy Gagnon, Assistant Director of the Montreal Police Department, and the officer responsible for co-ordinating the response teams.
A TRIBUTE TO GUY MARCIL
For the first time in its seven-year history, the Quebec Police Awards is introducing a new citation category to recognize police union excellence and to honour those who have worked tirelessly to build the police union system in Quebec.
Guy Marcil joined the ranks of the Montreal Police Department on March 14, 1951. By 1952, he got his first taste of police union activities by becoming a monitor. In 1965, he was elected to the position of secretary with the Fraternité des policiers de Montréal, and became president of the union in 1969 – the same year that Montreal police officers launched a wildcat strike to obtain a fair and acceptable collective agreement. As president, Mr. Marcil not only dealt with the 1969 strike, but also faced the 1970 October Crisis. He presided over the creation of the Fraternité des policiers of the new Montreal Urban Community Police in 1972. In December 1974, Mr. Marcil left the Fraternité, but never steered clear of police union activities. Two years later, in 1976, he became Executive Director of the Fédération des policiers du Québec – a position he held until 1994. In all, Mr. Marcil spent 42 years in the police union world. For his tenacious and tireless work, for his determination and commitment to maintaining professionalism in police work, we are proud to honour a true builder, and to present a Quebec Police Award to Guy Marcil.
A ROLE MODEL FOR UNDERCOVER POLICE WORK
RCMP Corporal Daniel Bérubé is described by colleagues as one of the calmest, most low-key and humble men the field of law enforcement has known. During his distinguished 34 years with the RCMP, Bérubé was recognised for being among the most experienced and determined undercover officers to fill the ranks of Canada’s national police force. In fact, undercover work became the bread and butter for this unassuming and hard-working police officer, described by his supervisor as a man blessed with “exemplary courage.”
In his glorious career, Bérubé participated in about 25 undercover operations – most of them involving dangerous organised criminal activities and biker gangs. Perhaps Corporal Bérubé’s biggest case was his impeccable undercover work that earlier this year resulted in the conviction of a former escort who had killed a man in a 1981 murder in Brossard. Bérubé, who posed as the boss of an organized crime gang, successfully obtained the confession of the female killer during an elaborate undercover operation in November 2002, which led to the 24-year-old murder case being solved.
Last year, Bérubé joined the ranks of the United Nations peacekeeping forces to work as an investigator in Burundi, proving once again that even in retirement, his dedication to law enforcement goes beyond words and beyond geographical boundaries. The 2005 Quebec Police Awards committee is pleased to honour Daniel Bérubé.
Frédéric Lanoie, Philippe Willems, Pierre Phaneuf, Pierre Caouette (GRC)
Alain Fredette, Danny Fournier, Maxime Tremblay (SQ)
TEAMWORK THE CURE FOR MAJOR DRUG OPERATION
Project CURE is one more example of how teamwork between law enforcement agencies reaps plenty of results. In this case, it is in the wake of playing a 20-year-long cat-and-mouse game with a major pot-smuggling crime organisation in the Eastern Townships, near the U.S. border, that the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) joined forces to put an end to the crime gang’s activities.
In the early hours of June 8, 2005, a squad of leading investigators with the RCMP, Sûreté du Québec and DEA led a 250-officer strong operation that saw the dismantling of a criminal network led by Werner Kiling and Gerry Couture – two men who were well known by police for their 20-year reign of terror in the region. Officers with Project CURE raided farms in Bedford and St. Armand, arresting a total of 32 persons – 14 of whom faced extradition to the U.S. for allegedly smuggling thousands of kilograms of marijuana across the border since 1991. The raid also resulted in 18 search warrants, where officers seized $5.5 million worth of homes, farms, properties, vehicles and a helicopter.
The members of the network are alleged to have intimidated local farmers into allowing their land to be used to grow the illicit weed. The product was then smuggled across the border, mostly into Vermont, where it was sold.
Project CURE is the result of impeccable collaborative work by law enforcement officers, and this province’s police unions and associations are pleased to take this opportunity to demonstrate that, like criminals, police officers are able to work together, despite the challenges of geographical and institutional boundaries.
Serge Nadeau, Michel Laporte, Jean-Claude Larose, Christiane Mousseau
TAKING DEDICATION TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL
Combined, they have 93 years of law enforcement experience. They are four dedicated and driven RCMP officers whose successful campaign to stamp out illegal drug operations in the Lanaudière region was cut short in December 2004 when RCMP management closed down the Joliette detachment, which had served the community since 1949.
Despite the bad news that hit their detachment, RCMP officers Serge Nadeau, Michel Laporte, Jean-Claude Larose and Christiane Mousseau can continue to hold their heads high, as their unblemished track record in the war against drug dealers and organised crime stands honourably. The detachment, which covered a 13,000-kilometre-wide territory, was 15-members strong prior to 2000, but by the time RCMP management finished with their re-organisation plan four years later, these four officers were all that remained. Despite being outnumbered, they successfully seized 17,000 marijuana plants during three raids in the spring of 2004, serving 39 warrants and seizing vehicles, equipment and real estate. In 2003, the officers laid a total of 80 charges when they directly targeted the leaders of a sophisticated drug ring. These are just two of many raids that they conducted jointly with the Sûreté du Québec and local municipal police.
Ironically, the only barrier that stopped these officers from continuing with their work wasn’t a lack of cooperation from the Sûreté du Québec or local police. It wasn’t a lack of work, dedication or determination. In the end, it was RCMP management that pulled the plug on a detachment that was serving the community well.
For having carried on the job of enforcing the law and providing quality service to the public, while their detachment was in the process of being downsized, these police officers are today honoured with Quebec Police Awards.
Jean Milliard and Patrick Pelletier
COURAGE, DETERMINATION AND QUICK ACTION REAP BENEFITS IN SUICIDAL WOMAN’S RESCUE
At 2:43 a.m. on July 22, 2004, Montreal Police Constables Jean Milliard and Patrick Pelletier are called to a building at the corner of de la Montagne and Notre-Dame streets in the Ville-Marie borough, where an intoxicated and desperate woman is threatening to throw herself from the fourth floor.
Upon their arrival, Constable Milliard talks to the distraught woman and tries to convince her not to carry through with her suicide bid. Constable Pelletier, meanwhile, runs up the stairs at the rear of the building. When he reaches the fourth floor, he hears his colleague’s voice, but sees that the woman is moments away from jumping.
Without hesitating, Pelletier quickly grabs the woman and lifts her from her position and pulls her to safety – in full view of television news cameras. The officers then comfort the woman while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. For their courage, precision, quickness to respond, and for saving the woman’s life, these two officers are honoured with Quebec Police Awards.
Daniel Bourgeois and Ghyslain Ménard
OFFICERS’ PATIENCE AND TENACITY PAY OFF IN FRIGID WATER RESCUE IN BEACONSFIELD
On May 14, 2004, a citizen calls 911 to report that a man appears to be drowning in the waters of Lac Saint-Louis in the West Island city of Beaconsfield.
Montreal Police Constable Daniel Bourgeois is having lunch at Station 5 in nearby Pointe Claire and overhears the call on his police radio. Bourgeois quickly realises that the incident isn’t far from his location and decides to respond. He also asks his supervisor to join him. When Bourgeois and Ghyslain Ménard reach the scene of the drama, the elderly victim appears to be 75 metres from shore. He is alive, but the current is pulling him further away towards the nearby rapids.
Bourgeois and Ménard grab a buoy and enter the frigid water. When the officers swim out to the man, they quickly surmise that the senior citizen has no intention of wanting to be rescued, and he is trying to end his life.
The water is freezing, the man refuses to grab the buoy and he is trying to make his way to the rapids, which are only a few metres away. In the face of the imminent danger, and with the man fighting not to be secured to the buoy, Bourgeois and Ménard decide to take drastic measures.
Ménard positions himself behind the man and performs an arm lock on the victim, while his partner does the same. Together, they drag the man back to the shore, where they attempt to keep him calm.
Ménard and Bourgeois are honoured with Quebec Police Awards for their courage, tenacity and persistence. Their intervention was marked by empathy and respect for the elderly man, especially in the face of a very difficult situation, in which they maintained control, from start to finish.
Karine Langlois and Stéphane Montpetit
OFFICERS’ PATIENCE AND DISCERNMENT PREVENT BLOODSHED DURING TENSE FAMILY DRAMA IN PIERREFONDS
On August 18, 2005 a horrible domestic dispute breaks out in Pierrefonds. A Chinese woman, who only speaks Cantonese, is threatening to kill her young child with a knife. She is demanding that her husband sign a release form to allow her to take the child back to Hong Kong. The man, however, refuses to sign the document for fear of never seeing the infant again.
When they arrive at the couple’s home, Constables Karine Langlois and Stéphane Montpetit find the woman sitting with the child in her arms and a knife pointed at the tot’s throat. The woman is agitated and crying, and she threatens to kill both her child and herself.
With the help of Montpetit, Constable Langlois spends the next hour trying to negotiate with the woman – a process made all the more tense and difficult because she speaks very little English. Langlois sees that the child is extremely tired and offers to bring the woman a pillow so that the infant can be more comfortable. The woman accepts Langlois’s offer.
That’s when Langlois decides to take action. With the assistance of officers Deraîche and Dumoulin, she attempts a diversion tactic. Langlois extends the pillow to the woman and one of the officers pretends to trip. At that moment, Langlois grabs the infant and within seconds the child and woman are separated. The woman is disarmed and placed under arrest.
Constables Langlois and Montpetit are commended for their courage, patience and discernment, and for creating a diversion that resulted in a happy and peaceful ending to a tense incident that could have ended in bloodshed.
Éric Mercier and Guy Lanteigne
FIRST-AID SKILLS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE IN SQ OFFICERS’ LIFE-SAVING INTERVENTIONS
Police officers are often the first responders in emergencies, which is why their first-aid training is extremely important. On March 17, 2005, Sûreté du Québec officers Éric Mercier and Guy Lanteigne responded to an incident in which a man had suffered a heart attack while behind the wheel of his car. The officers smashed the rear passenger window of the vehicle to pull the man out, and then performed CPR on the victim to keep him alive until the arrival of paramedics. The man was eventually saved.
On May 2, 2005, Lanteigne was once again called to service when, on a lunch break at a local restaurant, he saw that a woman was choking on her food. Lanteigne immediately performed the Heimlich Manoeuvre on the woman and saved her life. The officer’s lightning-quick speed and his first-aid skills proved to be the determining factor in the happy ending to this incident.
Saving a life is one of the noblest quests in the law enforcement profession. Officers Mercier and Lanteigne demonstrated their professionalism and the duty to serve, and are today recognized with Quebec Police Awards.
Gilles Laporte and Daniel Maheu
OFFICERS’ EXPERIENCE AND COURAGE SAVE DRIVER’S LIFE IN FIERY CAR CRASH
In the early hours of August 30, 2003, Sûreté du Québec officers Daniel Maheu and Gilles Laporte respond to a highway car accident. A car has skidded off the road, hit a tree and rolled onto the driver’s side and flames have broken out in the belly of the car. The officers quickly check on the status of the female driver, who is in a state of shock, and trapped in the wreckage. Maheu and Laporte use a fire extinguisher to try to put out the flames, but they know full well that the vehicle could explode at any moment and they must move quickly. Maheu smashes the passenger window with the extinguisher while Laporte leans into the car to grab hold of the woman’s hand. He pulls the woman out of her position and Maheu moves in to drag the victim to safety as fire engulfs the car.
Officers Maheu and Laporte showed exemplary courage and determination in saving the woman’s life, and are most deserving of Quebec Police Awards. Even after more than 30 years of service, officers like Laporte demonstrate that duty to the public always comes first.
Marc Lépine (Sûreté du Québec) and
Daniel Sylvain (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Police Service)
A DANGEROUS RAPIST IS SENT TO JAIL AND A 1987 MURDER IS SOLVED IN A JOINT POLICE INVESTIGATION
The rape and murder of 16-year-old Sophie Landry in 1987 and a second sexual assault on a young girl in 2000 on Montreal’s South Shore were two serious crimes that remained unresolved in early 2000 – until a joint operation by a pair of police services got into high gear and, using DNA technology and good old-fashioned police work, successfully apprehended a dangerous criminal and solved several other assaults that occurred between 1995 and 2000.
From October 2001 to April 2002, Detective-Sergeants Marc Lépine of the Sûreté du Québec and Daniel Sylvain of the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Police Service led a joint investigation called “Project Probe” to try to solve these crimes. While they had no suspect in view, the officers meticulously probed every detail of both cases, and managed to identify a particular car used by the aggressor. When the officers successfully matched the car with the suspect, they came up with one name: Guy Croteau. Once they had the name, the investigators needed a warrant to obtain a DNA sample from Croteau.
The investigation required plenty of patience on the part of Lépine and Sylvain, but their determination was just as plentiful. In February 2002, they finally arrested Croteau, and in 2004, he was sentenced to a life term in prison for the first-degree murder of Landry. In January 2006, Croteau will go to trial to face charges in relation to 10 other cases of armed sexual assault, abduction and kidnapping. Thanks to the tenacious work of these two officers, the case against Croteau is air-tight.
Quebec Police Awards are presented to Marc Lépine and Daniel Sylvain for their professionalism, extraordinary perseverance and dedication in removing a dangerous criminal from our streets. They are also saluted for their keen analytical skills and for having worked closely together even if they did not belong to the same police departments.
Mike Turpin and Jean-Philippe Guérin
POLICE OFFICERS RISK THEIR OWN LIVES DURING VALIANT WATER RESCUE ATTEMPT IN ST-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU
At 3:45 p.m. on May 12, 2004, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Police officers Jean-Philippe Guérin and Mike Turpin receive a call about a man who has just jumped into the Richelieu River from the Marchand Bridge on Highway 35.
The officers race to the scene, where Guérin immediately removes his belt and dons a life vest. Because the Richelieu River isn’t easily accessible from his side of the river, the officer decides to swim 10 metres across the Chambly Canal. Once he reaches the wall that separates the canal and the river, Guérin sees the man floating about 150 metres from the shore. The officer jumps into the water and reaches the unconscious victim. Despite the cold, the fatigue and strong current, Guérin manages to keep the man’s head above the water.
Seeing that his colleague and the victim are being pulled away by the current, Turpin decides to swim across the Chambly Canal and then jumps into the river to lend assistance. While being pulled away by the current, both police officers struggle to keep the victim’s head above the water until firefighters arrive in lifeboats a few minutes later. The man is pulled onto a lifeboat and, during the journey back to shore, both Guérin and Turpin take turns performing CPR on the victim, before paramedics take over.
The man and both officers are rushed to hospital. Despite the valiant efforts by Guérin and Turpin, the victim is declared dead at about 5 p.m. The officers are treated for hypothermia and are released 30 minutes later.
Quebec Police Awards are presented to Jean-Philippe Guérin and Mike Turpin of the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Police Service for the courage and exemplary tenacity they showed in trying to save the life of a suicidal man while putting their own lives at risk.
Patrick Calvé and Maxime De Grandpré
TWO POLICE OFFICERS DO EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO SAVE THE LIFE OF AN ELDERLY CAR ACCIDENT VICTIM
On April 22, 2003, officers Patrick Calvé and Maxime De Grandpré are on patrol in the Lanoraie region when they are called to the scene of a car accident. A vehicle has gone off the road and plunged seven metres into a ravine and landed in the river. When they arrive, the officers see that the car is on its roof and slowly sinking into the water.
Constable De Grandpré, a rookie who has only 18 months on the job at the time, jumps into the water to assist the victim while his colleague closely stands by. De Grandpré manages to open the door of the vehicle, cuts off the seatbelt with his knife and successfully pulls out the 73-year-old female driver. Together, Calvé and De Grandpré try everything they can to revive the victim, but sadly their CPR efforts aren’t enough to save the woman, who is later declared dead in hospital.
Professionalism is measured in the level of dedication and sacrifice. Officers Calvé and De Grandpré did everything humanly possible to save the life of an elderly woman. We salute and thank these brave officers with Quebec Police Awards for their dedication and service to the community.
QUICK ACTION BY LONGUEUIL POLICE OFFICER PUTS END TO CAREER CRIMINAL’S DANGEROUS SPREE
On the morning of March 6, 2005, Longueuil Police Constable Steeve Tremblay and his partner are on patrol when they receive two hold-up calls. The first hold-up has taken place in a restaurant in neighbouring Saint-Hubert, while the second has been committed at a convenience store, and shots have been fired at the store owner. Descriptions of the bandit in both incidents seem to point to one suspect. Tremblay and his colleague race to the convenience store.
Along the way, their cruiser crosses paths with a vehicle whose driver corresponds to the description of the suspect. Tremblay does a U-turn and catches up to the vehicle, but the driver steps on the gas and speeds through several intersections and fails to stop. A chase follows, but the officers lose sight of the suspect, before seeing him a few moments later stopped at a nearby intersection. The suspect is standing next to his vehicle and fires three shots at the approaching officers’ cruiser.
The bullets hit the cruiser, but the officers are not hit. The suspect gets back into his car and takes off, and another chase is under way, as several police cars try to apprehend the gunman. The suspect’s vehicle then races through a series of stop signs and smashes into another vehicle. While officers surround the suspect’s car, others attend to the injured in the other vehicle.
Constable Tremblay keeps watch over the suspect, who is still inside his wrecked car. Moments later, the man raises his arm and points his gun at Tremblay, but the officer instinctively reacts by firing three shots at the suspect. The gunman dies the next day of his injuries in hospital.
An investigation later reveals that the gunman was a career criminal who had recently been released on parole.
We salute Steeve Tremblay with a Quebec Police Award for his exemplary courage and exceptional actions that day that saved the lives of his fellow citizens and colleagues.
ICY WATERS DON’T DETER TROIS-RIVIÈRES POLICE OFFICER FROM SAVING WOMAN’S LIFE
At 10:15 a.m. on February 21, 2005, Trois-Rivières Public Security officer Steve Dionne and his colleagues receive a call about a suicidal woman who has just jumped off the Duplessis Bridge and into the icy waters of the Saint-Maurice River.
When they get to the scene, the police officers are fully aware that there’s no time to waste, as the water temperature is hovering around the freezing mark. Realizing that he’s got no lifeboat or proper rescue equipment, Dionne attaches a rope to a life vest, which he then puts on. His colleagues, meanwhile, stand in the cold water and grab hold of one end of the rope while Dionne struggles through the strong current and manages to swim out to the victim. He successfully grabs the woman before she disappears under the surface, and quickly pulls her to shore.
The police officers and the victim are rushed to hospital, where everyone is treated for hypothermia. The woman eventually regains consciousness at about 6 p.m.
Steve Dionne is honoured with a Quebec Police Award for his heroic efforts in that icy river that cold February day. His courage is exemplary and his actions helped save a woman’s life, even if it meant putting his own life at risk.
ROOKIE SAGUENAY POLICE OFFICER RESCUES WOMAN FROM BLAZING APARTMENT COMPLEX
At 2:45 a.m. on May 13, 2005, Stéphane Ouellet – a rookie officer with the Saguenay Police Service – and his partner respond to a call to assist firefighters who are on their way to fight a major blaze at a two-storey apartment complex in nearby Chicoutimi.
Ouellet and his colleague are the first on the scene, and they quickly realise that the situation is critical. Flames have engulfed the stairs at the rear of the building and thick, black smoke is pouring out of the second floor.
As he approaches the building, Ouellet spots a man in his 30s and a woman in her 60s trapped on a second-floor balcony. The man tells Ouellet he can’t breathe and must find a way to get off the balcony. With Ouellet’s assistance, the man successfully manages to climb down a pole located next to the balcony.
Ouellet tries to reassure the woman to stay put until firefighters arrive, but the officer knows the situation is getting more critical. The firemen are running late and Ouellet and his partner are the only ones who can help the woman.
Ouellet decides to climb up to the second floor by using poles and steel bars along the building. Once he reaches the top and climbs onto the balcony, Ouellet immediately senses that time is a key element as he is already having difficulty breathing and the woman is growing weaker and more panicky by the minute.
Without hesitation, Ouellet tells the woman to grab hold of his waist as he descends along the side of the balcony. Both the officer and the woman make it safely to the ground, where they are assisted by the man who had earlier escaped the flames. Paramedics quickly attend to Ouellet and the woman. The woman is taken to hospital, but she is released with no injuries. Ouellet, however, is treated for an injury to his leg.
For his outstanding courage and tremendous determination, and for having saved a fellow citizen, while risking his own life, we honour Stéphane Ouellet with a Quebec Police Award.
A SPECTACULAR RESCUE
Ten years as an ambulance technician in Ottawa and three years with the RCMP’s nautical unit came in handy for veteran Cpl. Richard Rondeau during the early morning hours of June 22, 2004 in Rivière-Beaudette, near the Quebec-Ontario border.
Woken up at 5 a.m. by a neighbour, who has just seen two young naked people clinging to a buoy in the middle of Lake Saint Francis, Rondeau drives his boat out to the victims. When he reaches the scene, he sees that there are three people in difficulty, one of them stuck in a tiny, water-filled boat. The stranded youths had apparently decided to swim to the buoy during a party the night before. The water ended up being choppier than they had thought, and the youths ended up being stranded. Despite the three-metre high waves, Rondeau, assisted by his neighbour, Denis Cartier, decides to attempt a rescue.
Corporal Rondeau and Cartier manage to reach the victims. They load two of them in Rondeau’s boat and tow the third victim and his boat back to shore. Once back on dry land, the three youths are whisked inside Rondeau’s house, where they receive first-aid assistance, blankets and coffee before firefighters and local police arrive. An hour later, Rondeau is on his way to work at RCMP headquarters in Montreal. After 27 years with the RCMP, this is just another day at the office!
Because of Richard Rondeau’s experience, determination and cool-headedness, along with assistance by his neighbour, Denis Cartier, three lives were saved that day. It is a feat that is worthy of recognition.
A VERY DELICATE RESCUE
A blaze breaks out inside an apartment in Saint Constant shortly after 7 a.m. on January 22, 2004, when a pot of oil ignites after being left on a stove. A woman spots the flames, alerts other occupants of the building and calls 911.
Constable Guy Lépine of the Rousillion Intermunicipal Police Service is the first on the scene. Told that two people – including a handicapped woman – are still stuck inside, Lépine enters the smoke-filled residence. The smoke is so thick that Lépine is forced to leave the building three times to get some fresh air. The officer hears a woman screaming inside the building, which leads him to her location. He brings one woman to safety and returns inside the building, where he locates a second woman sitting in her electric wheelchair, which no longer works. Lépine decides to push the woman and her wheelchair to the stairs that lead to the exit. At that point, he carefully brings the wheelchair and the woman down the stairs, one step at a time.
Lépine’s colleagues arrive on the scene and help him carry the woman in her wheelchair down the rest of the flight of stairs to safety. The woman is taken to hospital. While none of the residents and police officers is seriously injured, each is treated for smoke inhalation.
Guy Lépine of the Rousillon Police Service is presented with a 2004 Quebec Police Award in honour of the exemplary courage and the determination he showed when he risked his own life to save those of his fellow citizens.
Caroline Godin and Claude Cinq-Mars
COURAGE TO THE VERY END
On April 10, 2004, the day before Easter, a man tumbles into the icy waters of the Ouiatchouan River in Roberval. In the spring, the river’s currents push accumulated chunks of ice along each bank, causing walls of ice to reach eight feet in height. The man is clutching to the ice, he is in shock, but he cannot move. Passers-by and two Sûreté du Québec officers try to help the man. The constables extend a rope to the victim, but he is unable to catch it.
Constable Caroline Godin decides to walk down towards the river to slide the rope along the fragile ice to reach the victim. But when she realises that the ice could give way under her weight, one of the citizens on the scene takes over because of his smaller weight. He reaches the man and secures the rope around him. Godin, meanwhile, pulls the rope to pluck the man out of the water.
Constable Claude Cinq-Mars takes position on a piece of ice to help his colleague, but the ice suddenly gives way and he disappears into a dark hole under the ice. Godin jumps into action and grabs Cinq-Mars’s hand, pulling him back to the surface, saving his life. Now out of danger, Cinq-Mars manages to assist his colleague in the rescue, despite being soaked to the bone. In the end, everyone is safe.
Each person who participated in this dramatic rescue is deserving of praise. We want to underline the courage shown by Caroline Godin and the tenacity of Claud Cinq-Mars. Both officers showed dedication and strength of character, and, in the process, have become role models for all police officers.
OVERCOMING THE ELEMENTS TO SAVE A DROWNING MAN
On May 4 of this year, a citizen calls 911 in Sherbrooke to report that a man has just jumped off the Joffre Bridge, landing 50 feet below in the cold Saint François River.
Sergeant Alexandre Provencher hears the call on the police radio and races to the scene. When he reaches the bridge, he sees the victim in the water, calling for help. The man is losing strength and is fading fast.
Provencher grabs a lifebelt, removes his bullet-proof vest and belt and dives into the river to rescue the victim. After 15 minutes, he finally manages to reach the victim in the middle of the tumultuous river and pulls him back to shore, despite the strong currents and extremely cold water. Two police officers and firefighters help Provencher and the victim as they emerge from the water.
Both Provencher and the man are sent to hospital to be treated for hypothermia and released.
A 2004 Quebec Police Award is presented to Alexandre Provencher of the Sherbrooke Police Service for the outstanding courage and calm he showed on that day as he risked his life to save a fellow citizen.
Geneviève Descôteaux, Catherine Simard, Martin Bouchard,
Frédérick Demers, Eric Lemire, Sylvain Martineau, Richard Massé, Marc Tanguay
GOING BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY
It’s a cold February 3, 2004 when sergeants Marc Tanguay and Richard Massé notice thick smoke spilling into the sky over Wellington Street in Verdun. They see that it’s coming from a residential building and spot a bare-chested man on the street in front of the burning building. The officers immediately call for assistance.
Emergency vehicles race to the scene. The two sergeants tell residents in the basement to escape through a window. Constables Eric Lemire, Frédérick Demers and Sylvain Martineau arrive on the scene and assist the sergeants. As the evacuation is under way, the officers notice a man trapped behind a barred window as flames consume the building. The officers use a metal rod to try to break the bars, but it doesn’t work. Constable Martineau decides to give a water-soaked cloth to the trapped man in an effort to ward off the flames and smoke. The two sergeants decide to pull a battering ram from the trunk of a police vehicle to smash the bars, one by one, before freeing the trapped man.
Meanwhile, constables Martin Bouchard, Catherine Simard and Geneviève Descôteaux, as well as Sony Anctil of the Verdun public security service, continue evacuating residents on the first, second and third floors as smoke guts the entire basement. As the officers prepare to leave the building, they notice that the situation has taken a turn for the worse, as thick smoke now prevents them from locating the exit. Bouchard and Simard manage to get out, but quickly realise that Descôteaux and Anctil are still trapped inside and can’t find the exit. As the trapped officers prepare to jump from a first-storey window, they hear their colleagues’ cries, leading them through the smoke and towards safety.
When police officers do their job, they are often called upon to use their imagination and creativity. Last February 3, these officers put their lives on the line to save people from dying in a violent blaze. These officers showed what teamwork and selfless courage can accomplish.
GIVING HOPE TO TEENS
If you look up the word volunteer in the dictionary, don’t be surprised if you see a picture of Alain Giroux. This 31-year veteran of the Gaspé detachment is a staunch defender of youth. The 52-year-old also sees, on a daily basis, what effects poverty has on the people who live in this region.
When the local karate club came close to shutting down due to financial problems, Giroux decided to take action. He volunteered his time to keep it open. That was five years ago. Since then, the number of students has jumped from 15 to 160 kids. Giroux, a karate instructor himself, also formed a local martial arts association in order to kick-start an anti-drug program for teens. The program has been a huge success, with some 400 students participating. Giroux even managed to bring Canadian Olympic hero Bruni Surin to Gaspé to tell teens about the dangers of drugs.
Giroux is two years from retirement, but he has no intentions of ending his volunteer work with youth any time soon. Giroux remains the model to follow for community policing and community involvement.
THE GUARDIAN ANGEL
Watching over politicians isn’t the easiest job in the world. Politicians are particular people, blessed with strong personalities and used to making decisions. They may be public individuals, but they still have the right to their privacy. To become a bodyguard, efficiency and discretion are at the top of the list of qualities for any candidate. Jean Racine of the Sûreté du Québec ranks among the cream of the crop, as far as his colleagues are concerned. Racine has spent almost three decades protecting seven Quebec premiers, including their families, bringing with him his impeccable personal and professional skills and a dedication that is beyond reproach. He began with René Lévesque in October 1978, and continued with Pierre-Marc Johnson, Robert Bourassa, Daniel Johnson, Jacques Parizeau, Lucien Bouchard and Bernard Landry. Never, in the history of the SQ, has a police officer performed the job of protecting Quebec’s senior politicians for so long.
With 25 years of service under his belt, Racine today watches over Premier Jean Charest and oversees security for foreign dignitaries who visit Quebec. Racine’s expertise is now being used to train other bodyguards. The head of the SQ’s VIP protection unit selected Racine to create a training program and teach the future crop of bodyguards.
Jean Racine’s professionalism is a source of inspiration for all of his colleagues. His sense of diplomacy and strength of character make him a role model for the world of policing. Let us salute and applaud an exemplary man.
Fernando De Oliviera
COURAGE UNDER FIRE FOR A LOW-PROFILE MAN
Fernando De Oliveira is as low profile as they come. He drives a nondescript car. He loves his sports. He avoids the limelight. He entered the RCMP back in 1989 with little fanfare. He does his job. He goes home. End of story.
But it’s exactly Cpl. De Oliveira’s every-man qualities that make him a top-rated member of the RCMP’s Emergency Response Team – a job he has been doing since 1999. De Oliveira and his 16-member squad are part of an elite unit that responds to emergency situations throughout Quebec. On a bitterly cold January 23 morning in 2003, De Oliveira and his team found themselves in a dingy apartment building in Val d’Or, ready to take down a dangerous criminal who was holed up in an apartment, and who had vowed he’d kill a police officer. After De Oliveira and his unit broke down the door, the 40-year-old officer saw the suspect, naked, standing near a door in the hallway, holding a revolver. Despite orders to drop the weapon, the man instead pointed his gun at Oliveira – the suspect’s 38-calibre revolver had earlier been reported stolen from the Sûreté du Québec.
Instead of shooting the suspect, De Oliveira grabbed the barrel of the gun and head-butted the man. Both men fell and a struggle ensued, as De Oliveira desperately attempted to disarm the individual. The officer finally succeeded and the suspect was taken into custody.
True to himself, De Oliveira says he didn’t do anything unusual, and that he was only trying to prevent his colleagues from being shot. If anyone was going to take a bullet he was. Words of a hero, indeed!
Bernard Brideau and Dominique Harvey
RECOGNIZING TRUE HEROISM – 14 YEARS LATER
July 11, 1990 is a date that will forever be etched in the history of this province, as it marked the beginning of the Oka crisis, one of the most dramatic conflicts to take place during the 20th century involving Quebec’s native people. That day also is remembered because it was the day Sûreté du Québec Cpl. Marcel Lemay was killed during a shootout, which sparked the crisis.
Const. Bernard Brideau and Cpl. Dominique Harvey recall that day, as they saw Lemay go down after being hit by a bullet during the shootout in the forest at Oka. Despite the chaos, fear and danger that surrounded them, both officers decided to move in and rescue Lemay. At the time, Brideau was a rookie, with barely one year of service, while Harvey was an 18-year veteran – a man for whom solidarity and unity among colleagues were sacred values. Their decision to try to rescue Lemay was done at the risk of their own lives. The officers grabbed a stretcher and ran towards their fallen colleague as bullets whistled past them. Despite their quick action and speed, Lemay died a short time later of his injuries.
This is a story of courage, dedication, a sense of duty and honour, and mutual support. Why are we honouring this gesture, more than 14 years after the fact? Two reasons: Dominique Harvey will soon retire, and, more importantly, despite recommendations by these two officers’ commanding officers, the Sûreté du Québec has never recognised their heroism. SQ brass has preferred, instead, to cite the controversial findings of a coroner’s inquest into Lemay’s death for not honouring two police officers who showed bravery in the line of fire.
It is, therefore, with great pleasure that today we salute Bernard Brideau and Dominique Harvey and that we honour them with 2004 Quebec Police Awards. It is by means of these awards that we seek to justly recognise the work of police officers. Over and above the spectacular work that law enforcement officers are regularly called upon to do, the Quebec Police Awards are presented in order to celebrate a profession that encompasses fundamental human values, such as protection of life and justice, co-operation and courage.
THE COURAGE TO SERVE AND PROTECT
It’s 7 a.m. on December 30, 2003, and Const. Gino Paré of the Sûreté du Québec is starting his shift as a patrolling officer on Highway 15 near Saint Jérôme. Thirty minutes later he responds to a single-vehicle accident on a bridge over the Rivière du Nord. When he reaches the scene, Paré sees that a vehicle has struck a barrier on the bridge after skidding on an icy stretch and is blocking the right lane. Paré parks his cruiser in the right lane to secure the zone and sets road flares to divert traffic. The driver of the vehicle involved in the accident assists Paré and suddenly cries out to the officer, “Watch out!” Paré looks up and sees a car skidding out of control and heading straight for both men. Paré jumps out of the way and injures his right knee when he hits the pavement. The other man also jumps to the side, but falls over the bridge barrier and lands in the river below.
Unable to walk and in pain, Paré drags himself to his cruiser and calls for help. He then pulls himself along his patrol car and grabs hold of the bridge wall, where he looks down and sees that the fallen man is clinging to ice, but half his body is still in the water. The victim is unable to get out of the water. Paré drags himself along the bridge wall, climbs over a fence and lets himself slide down to the river bank. Lying on the ice, Paré manages to pull the man out of the water. The victim is in a state of shock and hypothermia is setting in. He also complains of pain in his back. Paré desperately tries to keep the man warm by covering the victim with his own body.
Paré maintains radio communication with his colleagues, who come to their assistance.
We wish to honour Gino Paré, who, despite his own injuries, did not hesitate to come to the aid of the victim. What began as yet another day on the job ended up being a very eventful and unforgettable one for the officer. Such is the job of a police officer – a job where, every once in a while, a man will rise to the occasion and become a true hero.
Sergeant Joe Tomeo
Constable Robert Ring
RCMP officers sink Colombian Cartel
When the vice-president of Spain, a high-ranking police commissioner and an army of journalists from across Europe show up to congratulate you for sticking it to the mob, you know you’ve done something right. Such is the amazing story of Sgt. Joe Tomeo and Const. Robert Ring, two members of the RCMP drug squad in Montreal. Theirs is a story of persistence, courage and textbook undercover work.
In the end, the two officers helped bring down a huge international cocaine-trafficking operation, resulting in the seizure of more than five tons of cocaine, as well as the tools of the trade of a gang of dangerous criminals – in other words: two ships, huge sums of money, residences and luxury vehicles, as well as the arrests of 16 drug dealers. The operation also saw the involvement of police agencies from Colombia, Peru, Spain and Cyprus
The story begins in early 2001, when a source that Tomeo has been dealing with informs him that the notorious Colombian Cartel is preparing to smuggle seven tons of cocaine from South America to Spain. While the drug was not destined for Canada, Tomeo worked diligently to obtain co-operation from police services in several countries to begin this operation and continue to work with his source. Constable Ring was brought in to shadow the source and became the undercover agent who would infiltrate the Cartel.
To launch the smuggling operation, the Cartel spent almost $2 million to buy a boat in Romania, hiring a crew in Cyprus, before beginning a pick-up and delivery service of metal in Turkey, Guyana, Peru and Russia. The plan was to make the operation look legitimate.
Twists and turns kept popping up, as the two officers faced repeated interference from senior Cartel members, who oversaw the smuggling operation in Panama and Peru and threatened to change delivery plans. Throughout the dangerous operation, Tomeo and Ring kept their cool, negotiating with the Cartel, and keeping a close eye on the destination of cocaine deliveries.
On the night of July 24, 2001, the ship delivered 4,275 kilograms of coke at a drop-off point on the outskirts of Tornaco, Colombia, and then headed for Europe. Four days later, the Cartel contacted Ring, telling him that the ship had to meet a fishing vessel in Panama to pick up an additional 3,000 kilograms of cocaine. Colombian authorities told the RCMP officers that the Cartel was planning to send one of their officials aboard. Tomeo advised the double-agent to learn more about the next shipment’s destination and to continue his trip to Spain. That information was sent to authorities in Spain. Upon arrival in Spain, police seized nine tons of cocaine from a fishing boat in the area identified by Ring.
By August 15, 2001, the two RCMP members were in Spain to finalize the supervised delivery. In order to identify the senior members of the Cartel organization in Spain, the decision was made not to deposit the coke unless a sum of $250,000 was paid in advance. The strategy worked. A meeting was held between Ring and the Spanish Cartel. RCMP officers were stunned to see the top member of the Cartel show up for the meeting. The Cartel member was so insulted by the request for the money deposit that he decided to come and give Ring a piece of his mind. In return, he and 15 other people were arrested.
For their tenaciousness, courage and patience, Sgt. Tomeo and Const. Ring are recipients of Quebec Police Awards for 2003.
Corporal Luc Montmarquette
Bringing justice to victims of telemarketing fraud
Corporal Luc Montmarquette brings new meaning to the RCMP’s famous motto – “They always get their man.” To describe Montmarquette as dedicated is an understatement. Perhaps a group of criminals currently sitting in jail cells in the U.S. may have other choice words to describe the veteran RCMP officer. Stubborn might be one of them.
Montmarquette showed that it sometimes pays to use every means possible to nail some suspects, especially if they use telemarketing to commit fraud. By developing key contacts with U.S. police, the post office, Revenue Canada and Revenu Québec, Montmarquette succeeded in confiscating hundreds of thousands of dollars, stashed away by fraudulent telemarketers – money that belonged to innocent victims.
The investigation began in late 1999 when a U.S. citizen contacted police to complain about being defrauded by a telemarketing firm with a post office box in the Quebec City region. Montmarquette of the RCMP’s Commercial Crime Unit in Quebec City checked out the post office box and was able to trace it to suspects living in the Vancouver area – the same area that Montmarquette had been assigned to between 1995 and 1999.
When Montmarquette went to B.C., he learned that the shady business dealings were being conducted out of a building that was later the subject of two search warrants, and that was also under investigation by the RCMP’s Project Colt unit in B.C. The search led the FBI to seize a dozen bank accounts owned by the suspects in the U.S. Several days later, suspects were arrested at the U.S. border, as they attempted to enter the U.S. from Canada to try to find out why their bank accounts were shut down. They were eventually sentenced to 70 months in a California penitentiary for fraud. The probe led police to learn that other suspects linked to the telemarketing scheme were living in the Quebec City region.
Montmarquette returned to Quebec City and continued working with the FBI agent to try to seek justice for the victims of the fraud – who, in all, lost about $2.4 million U.S.
In June 2000, after being told by the courts that there was nothing they could do to seize the suspects’ assets, Montmarquette approached Revenue Canada, which helped him confiscate $230,000 in cash from one of the suspects’ notaries, and seized buildings owned by the suspects, worth about $350,000. Revenu Québec also got involved, seizing $175,000 in cash.
At the same time, Ontario Provincial Police arrested one man, who tried to deposit $300,000 in fraudulently-obtained U.S. cheques. The man later told police he worked for the telemarketing ring investigated by Montmarquette. The man confirmed that the group was working in Quebec City, Toronto and Vancouver.
After their arrests, the members of the group were charged in Los Angeles and extradited to Canada the next year. By January 2003, the group’s ringleaders were brought before the courts in California and found guilty. They are currently sitting in jail, awaiting their sentences.
Honourable mentions go to Corporals Trevor Dusterhoft, Steve Reinhart and Susan Nixon, as well as FBI Special Agent Gene Kennedy, Inspector Jean-Pierre Morneau of Canada Post, Roch Grondin and Josée Duquette of Revenue Canada and Det.-Sgt. John Corcoran of the OPP. Without the help of these people, the investigation would not have had a happy ending.
And for his daring, hard-nosed fight to bring justice for countless victims of telemarketing fraud, Corporal Montmarquette is most deserving of a 2003 Quebec Police Award.
Corporal Jean-Marc Ménard
Corporal Paul Desrochers
Corporal Jeff Couture
Sergeant John Sparkes
Officers’ attention to detail proved costly for two money counterfeiters
Having a razor-sharp memory came in handy for RCMP Corporal Jean-Marc Ménard. And knowing a Toyota from a Honda was also a good thing. Thanks to the keen eye of Ménard, as well as the hard work of colleagues Paul Desrochers, John Sparkes and Jeff Couture, two money counterfeiters have been put out of commission.
Ménard and Corporals Desrochers, Sparkes and Couture were instrumental in collaborating with local police services and merchants to put the two criminals out of business, charging them with possession and trafficking of counterfeit money.
The case began in January 2003 when Montreal man showed up at a convenience store in Sherbrooke to make a purchase. He handed over a $100 bill to the clerk. The clerk noticed the bill was fake and refused to accept it. The suspect pulled out a second fake bill. The clerk again saw that the money was phoney and called 911. At that point the suspect fled the scene. Sherbrooke Police quickly collared the man and the case was investigated by Yvon Charpentier. It was later learned that two suspects had pulled at least five similar stunts in nearby Cookshire. This time, local merchants were able to give police the license plate number of the suspects’ vehicle after being victims of counterfeiters. The information was passed from Sherbrooke Police to the Sûreté du Québec’s Denis Soulard, and the RCMP’s Sparkes. The suspects, however, were still on the loose.
Two months later, the man who had been arrested for trying to use counterfeit money at the convenience store showed up at the local RCMP detachment to supply mandatory fingerprints for his pending court case. That’s when Corporal Jean-Marc Ménard noticed that the Toyota Tercel parked out front matched the description of the car seen by merchants in Cookshire. Ménard stepped outside and took a closer look at the car. He noticed that the man sitting in the passenger seat looked like the suspect seen on a surveillance video of a gas station Corporal Paul Desrochers obtained a search warrant and officers found eleven $100 bills, two $10 bills and three fake social insurance cards inside the car.
“The case was a success thanks to several police services, including the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec and the Sherbrooke Police Service, as well as the vigilance of merchants,” said RCMP spokesman Jimmy Moffat.
Thanks to old-fashioned police work and attention to detail, these three officers were able to solve five crimes, thus receiving their 2003 Quebec Police Awards.
Organized crime takes a hit
RCMP investigation solves crimes committed against prison guards and crime reporter Michel Auger
Justice has a long reach. It also has a good memory.
In 1996, an investigation into counterfeit money conducted by the Anti-counterfeit section of the Quebec RCMP brought investigators into contact with a criminal network that produced prohibited weapons, such as machine guns with silencers and 22-calibre pistols. In 1998, a large-scale operation was conducted in which 122 Canadian and American police officers participated. Many suspects were arrested, including Michel Vezina, a weapons manufacturer who worked with the Hells Angels. Two years later, Journal de Montreal reporter Michel Auger was the target of an attempted murder, shot in the parking lot of the newspaper. Police had few leads that could help them trace the bullets to the perpetrators. However, investigators from the Montreal Police Department later recovered a 22-calibre weapon from underneath the vehicle used by the suspect of the Auger crime – a vehicle that was set on fire immediately after the shooting, far away from the scene of the crime.
It was at this moment that the RCMP was called in. Comparing the crime weapon with similar calibre weapons seized by the RCMP in 1998, investigators established that, beyond a doubt, Michel Vezina was the individual who supplied the weapon to the suspect who gunned down Auger. Once investigators had this proof, the identity of the criminals who ordered the hit on Auger was as clear as the motive behind their crime. After targeting prison guards, the Hells Angels wanted to go after journalists.
An investigation into the forgery of American 50-dollar bills finally led RCMP investigators on a wild goose chase, and eventually linking them to an investigation carried out by another police service. The ramifications of organized crime are diverse and this situation necessitated great collaboration by police at all levels and jurisdictions.
The officers who worked on this complicated investigation are most deserving of a Quebec Police Award because they worked in the spirit of mutual aid and they clearly exhibited an attitude of sharing as they worked hand in hand with colleagues from other police services. This is an example of what we expect from police officers – that they show solidarity. Adding to the mood of celebration and triumph at the awards gala was the presence of Michel Auger, who stood on stage and presented the awards to the investigators who helped solve his shooting.
Congratulations to Michel Lareau, Léger Brassard, Jean-Guy Lemay, Robert Laprairie, John Génier, Nathalie Dumais and André Bacon.
RCMP officers dismantle international child prostitution ring
A three-officer investigation leads to hundreds of charges against child smugglers
Police work is at times painful. Long hours, difficult investigations, exposure to contempt and violence, and stress officers endure in front of tribunals. All of this is routine for the officers being honoured with Quebec Police Awards. For the officers in this case, the most difficult part of their work was being exposed to the most sordid and darkest elements of human behaviour. Their work consisted of saving children imported into Canada to serve either as sexual slaves or as organ donors.
The Criminal Code contains an article that prohibits such practices, but the article still has to be applied, and it is here that the three investigators in this case worked so diligently, thus experiencing huge rewards and many frustrations throughout their investigation. Over a period of three years, these three police officers laid about 100 charges against suspects who smuggled children into Canada for the child prostitution market. The oldest was a 16-year-old girl. The youngest was a one-year-old boy.
With the help of Immigration Canada, these police officers first worked to build a profile of the smugglers and of susceptible children. This lengthy, tiring work was not done in vain because in 2002, for the first time in Canadian legal history, a person was formally convicted of having attempted to bring into Canada two young girls aged 10 and 14 to work as prostitutes.
In presenting the awards to officers Robert Ouimet, Caroline Léonard and André Langevin, we honour their commitment, the service they render to society, and the cause that they defend.
Organized police fight organized crime
Members of the Corpuscule and Calamus units show true grit in nailing the bad guys
The Quebec Police Awards underscore the worth and value of individuals who, through their determination and bravery, have become role models for other police officers. In awarding a Quebec Police Award to officers Allan Lockwood, André Potvin, Neil Roy, Lorie McDougal, Pierre Massé, Shari Rayner, Michel Crevier, Rino Leclerc, Daniel Hérard, Réjean Gagnon, Léo Albert and Michael Hanigan, we salute the exceptional performance of a team that demonstrated true grit and efficiency as they conducted their investigation through the Corpuscule and Calamus projects.
As organized crime gets better and better organized, police forces must also work more closely together to fight this type of criminal activity. In the case of the Corpuscule project, the investigation was done in conjunction with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Cocaine, hashish, and marijuana are currently big players in a huge international market. Drugs from Columbia, Spain and Mexico pass through Haiti or Jamaica and are unloaded in Montreal and New York. In order for police to cope with criminal networks that have understood the concept of globalization, there must be collaboration between many specialists, each bringing the expertise that allows law enforcement to investigate and gather the necessary proof to make arrests. Thanks to the work of the Corpuscule investigation, 10 people were arrested. Baggage handlers working at Mirabel Airport were also arrested for their complicity.
This investigation was no sooner finished that the members of this experienced team from the Quebec division of the RCMP undertook the Calamus project. This investigation was conducted in Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia and succeeded in dismantling the channels importing and exporting drugs. About 15 people were arrested, including the two network heads, both related to the Hells Angels. This investigation also led to the arrest of a lawyer who had accepted to act as an intermediary between Colombian suppliers and Canadian buyers.
This team deserves our respect. Each member is an expert in his or her field. Each one knows that, together, through a united front, police find the creativity, discipline and perseverance necessary to give results. Sergeant-Major Lockwood’s team is a model of strength and unity. We cannot fight against organized crime if we, ourselves, are not very well organized, united and committed to the same goal.
Operation Traquenord moves in
Joining forces to win the war against crime has proven results
As “Operation Traquenord” showed, a true collaborative effort exists within the police forces of Quebec. Regardless of the colour of the uniform, the war on crime is being fought by each and every police officer in the province. In Abitibi, for example, we saw a perfect example of the co-operation between police forces at different levels of government. Police officers from the Sûreté Municipale de Rouyn-Noranda, the Sûreté du Québec and the RCMP joined forces to put a stop to the activities of a criminal ring involved in drug trafficking.
The investigation required the full-time commitment of nine people over the course of one year, as well as the participation of several dozen officers in 16 searches and the subsequent arrest of some 40 people. Richard Lamarche from the RCMP provided the team of SQ investigators with a surveillance expert. Members of the Sûreté Municipale de Rouyn-Noranda provided the field expertise, as well as an excellent typist to prepare 70 warrants. Together, these officers were able to tackle a regional problem that affected the towns of LaSarre and Matagami.
Collaboration was an essential element for the success of this operation, as was the quality of the work performed by these officers – officers who showed how dedicated they are to serving their community. Congratulations to Richard Lamarche (RCMP), Sandra Boucher (SQ), Vincent Dallaire (SQ), Yannick Dussault (SQ), Daniel Lambert (SQ), Danny Rail (SQ), Jean Sigouin (SQ), Jacques Charette (SM) and Éric Doucet (SM).
A story of great courage
RCMP officer goes beyond the call of duty in the name of justice
This story begins like a Hollywood movie. A police investigator is offered money to help a mobster escape justice. The investigator discusses the situation with his superiors, who then ask him to play along. Our investigator is now launched into a dangerous game. The initial bribery attempt is for the trial of Jimmy Dimaulo. It then becomes a matter of a more permanent agreement and Corporal Jocelyn Chagnon is offered $1 million.
This is where our movie ends and real life begins. The separation between the justice system and police administration meant that, without intending to, the Crown Prosecutor revealed that the investigator never attempted to modify anything in the case. Consequently, it became obvious that the officer had tricked the mafia. From then on, his life was in danger. As a result of his work, Chagnon and his family were forced to live in hiding for a time. They had to move and the children changed schools. Strict security measures were now part of the day-to-day routine for this family.
While the Chagnon family faced inconveniences and danger, they understood that they were doing it in the name of justice. For Coporal Chagnon, it was his job and he carried it with honour and dignity.
On November 1, 2001, Chagnon was presented with a Quebec Police Award. This was our way to show appreciation to Chagnon, who agreed to take serious risks for the benefit of the community. Thank you, Mr. Chagnon and his family for their tremendous courage.
Sadly, less than six months after Jocelyn Chagnon received his award, he passed away after fighting a brave battle against cancer.
Project Impact gives good results
Good old-fashioned police work does the job
Wherever you see the war being waged against drugs, you’re likely to find the RCMP on the front lines. In Rivière-du-Loup, a joint operation united the RCMP and the Sûreté Municipale – a tag-team that proud quick and effective results.
Observations made by officers Johanne Levasseur and Luc D’Amours, from the Sûreté Municipale de Rivière-du-Loup raised suspicions that a certain number of people were involved in a drug trafficking ring. However, in order to gather more proof, an investigation had to be undertaken discreetly. That’s when the cavalry was called in.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police provided the Sûreté Municipale with two investigators, as well as surveillance equipment. The investigation techniques of the RCMP complemented the field knowledge of the municipal officers. The officers were quickly able to identify all members of the ring, including the leader. The investigation also led to the discovery and search of the premises where the drugs were stored.
The repercussions of this investigation were felt across the city and in the bars. Many dealers left the city. The leader of the ring and his subordinates made themselves scarce. Cocaine became much more of a rarity in bars. The community was very satisfied with the operation. Congratulations on a job well done by the police! Denis Lebel (RCMP), Gilles Rossignol (RCMP), Gilles Pelletier (SM), Luc D’Amours (SM) and Johanne Levasseur (SM) received their Quebec Police Awards last November.
MONTREAL URBAN COMMUNITY POLICE
Constables François Gagnon, Annik Lacoursière,
François Landreville and Christian Gilbert
Officers show courage in saving lives
It’s 3 a.m. A bar fight in Montreal. A call for help. Montreal Urban Community Police Constable François Gagnon, who has been patrolling nearby, arrives immediately on the scene. A man is injured. He has been stabbed in the throat. Gagnon applies pressure to the victim’s neck to stop the bleeding. The man has already lost nearly 45 per cent of his blood. From that moment on, Gagnon remains by the victim’s side until they arrive at the hospital. In the end, the man’s life was saved.
The quick action and professional knowledge shown by Constable Gagnon, and the calm he was able to maintain, were without a doubt key factors that saved a life. This is what it means to ensure the public’s safety.
It is a Saturday morning in June, 1999. Constable Annik Lacoursière and her partner, Constable François Landreville, are patrolling near Rivières des Prairies. It’s a beautiful day. Suddenly, they are informed that a woman has thrown herself in the river in an attempt to end her life. Upon arrival, Constable Lacoursière takes off her boots and belt and enters the water, holding the a life buoy while Constable Landreville stays behind to hold the rope. Quickly, she swims the 25 metres separating her from the woman in distress. Surprise! The woman refuses the police officer’s help. She pushes away Constable Lacoursière’s buoy. Lacoursière grabs the desperate woman by the waist and, holding the buoy in the other hand, is towed to shore by Constable Landreville. As the survivor has swallowed a lot of water, she is too weak to fight Lacoursière’s grip. The woman is taken to hospital. She is safe and sound.
Through their intervention, Constables Lacoursière and Landreville accomplished that which is most noble in the policing profession: to protect and to save lives.
It is about 8 a.m. on a cold February day in 1999, when Constable Christian Gilbert arrives at the scene of a fire that has just broken out. The fire has caught in a mattress in the basement and thick, black smoke has permeated the three-storey building. Using his flashlight and his voice, he manages to direct residents to the exit. When he is just about to leave the building, he hears a woman yelling, “Help, I can’t see anything!” Risking his own safety, Gilbert returns inside the building to rescue the woman. Crawling while holding his breath, he makes his way back up the stairs. Then his hand touches the ankle of the woman and the Constable realizes that the woman is rather small, so he instructs her to climb onto his back and, still crawling, he makes it down the stairs and out of the dwelling. Thanks to Constable Gilbert, no one is injured in the fire.
These are examples that solidly demonstrate the way in which police officers serve and protect the public.
SÛRETÉ DU QUÉBEC
Officer Pierre Lamontagne
Officer’s investigative work nabs “Highway 20 Predator”
In early 1999, a Montmagny youth shows police officers from the Sûreté du Québec the house owned by a man he accuses of sexual assault. He tells them how the man made him get into his car and then drugged him. At the Montmagny station, a similar story is being reported by a young man who says that back in late 1996 he was also picked up on Highway 20, drugged and assaulted. Thus begins an investigation that would mushroom into a major case and make newspaper headlines throughout the province and the rest of Canada.
As an investigator with the major crimes unit since 1992, Pierre Lamontagne takes charge of the file. The suspect has no criminal record. Assistance from police in the surrounding Montmagny region, reveals however, that five other complaints have been filed by youths who were drugged and assaulted by a stranger who made them get into his car. The investigator then looks into the type of drug the suspect would have used on his victims. He discovers that the drug is Serax. In 1997, a young man struck and killed by a car on Highway 20 becomes part of officer Lamontagne’s investigation. The autopsy reveals that the young man had been drugged with Serax. The investigation has gone from sexual assault to murder.
On February 2,1999, Mr. Lamontagne proceeds with the arrest of the suspect, who would later be known as the “Highway 20 Predator.” The man has remained incarcerated since that time. The quality of proof gathered by the investigator led to the suspect being found guilty last July 28.
SÛRETÉ DU QUÉBEC
Constables Daniel Campagna and Mario Genest
Officers put “community” back into community policing
Improving safety on the waters of Lake Megantic was a job that required the support of local municipal officials. Sûreté du Québec Constable Daniel Campagna went straight to work, obtaining local support through a federal “Summer Career and Placement” program that creates summer jobs for students. He then approached Bombardier, which pitched in with a personal watercraft. Campagna then supervised the hiring and training of a student as part of the summer program. The program proved to be a hit with local residents as safety took a front seat to recreational activities on Lake Megantic, especially for Sea-doo enthusiasts.
Officer Daniel Campagna demonstrated that it is possible to do two things at once – conduct a public safety campaign and fighting crime at the same time. Prevention, as Constable Campagna showed, is also policing.
Another Sûreté du Québec officer who showed ingenuity is Constable Mario Genest of the MRC territory in Granit. Genest was put in charge of a small village where severe problems related to public disturbances were running rampant. The results of Genest’s work are impressive. He found a solution to all-terrain vehicle problems and he reassured the local town council about safety being returned to the streets and its citizens. Mario Genest used his personal and professional skills to solve public security problems. He won the respect of the local citizens and youths through meaningful examples and showed that community policing really works.
Congratulations to Mario Genest for his initiative and commitment to this community. He brings full meaning to the title of peace officer.
MONTREAL URBAN COMMUNITY POLICE
Constable Frédérick Huchet
Injured constable risked his life to protect school children during shootout
On May 4, 2000, Frédérick Huchet – a Montreal Urban Community Police constable with five years’ experience – is on patrol in Montreal’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district with Constable Bénoit Lamontagne, a rookie with only eight months’ service. Suddenly, from their cruiser they recognize a known offender standing on the sidewalk. The man is on parole. They see him approaching a car. Checking the car’s license plate, the officers discover that the vehicle has been used in several robberies. They then decide to apprehend the individual.
That’s when the suspect tries to run away. With the officers chasing him on foot, the suspect stops in front of the Maisonneuve Elementary School, where several children are outside, and pulls out a firearm and shoots in the officers’ direction. There is a brief exchange of gunfire and Huchet, who is keenly aware of the dangers the situation bears on the children and other bystanders, tries to lure the suspect away from the school. That’s when he is struck down by a bullet. In spite of the bullet-proof vest he is wearing, Huchet is seriously injured. The runaway suspect then stops a vehicle at gunpoint and takes the driver hostage. After running red lights at high speed, the suspect vehicle is rammed by a police vehicle on nearby Rachel Street 10 minutes later and is arrested in a dramatic takedown. The kidnapped victim is not injured.
Being a police officer means having to deal with those citizens who are the least respectful of society’s laws. Constable Huchet kept his cool and his quick action probably saved many lives during those brief, terrorizing moments outside a school. Huchet did all this while risking his life. For this, he deserves our utmost respect.
MONTREAL URBAN COMMUNITY POLICE
Constable André Hottin
Constable loses an eye after being attacked during Turkish demonstration
On February 19, 1999, Canadian citizens of Kurdish origin are demonstrating in front of the Israeli Consulate on René-Lévesque Boulevard. Several uniformed and plain-clothes police officers are rushed to the scene to ensure security. At 10:40 a.m., the demonstration turns violent. Demonstrators gathered at the front door of the Consulate have managed to force the door open and are attempting to enter. Several intervening police officers are then violently attacked. Demonstrators throw rocks and debris at the officers.
That day, officer Hottin of the Montreal Urban Community Police Department is acting as a detective. He has to mingle with the crowd and try to identify the instigators and, if possible, attempt to keep them under control. Among the demonstrators are women and children. When the trouble breaks out, Mr. Hottin realizes that some strollers are also being used to transport bars of metal, rocks and pieces of pavement. The team of detectives spots an individual who is apparently supplying the demonstrators with projectiles. The team makes its way to him with the intention of removing him from the crowd, but the demonstrators then confront the officers. Luckily, they are rescued by members of the MUC Police tactical squad. It is under these circumstances that Mr. Hottin is struck in the eye by a stone thrown by a teenager.
As a result of this accident while in the line of duty, Mr. Hottin lost his left eye. The award we are presenting to him today is to underscore the gratitude of his colleagues for the job he has accomplished. Thanks to his intervention, many police officers avoided being hurt.
SÛRETÉ DU QUÉBEC
Officer Claude Harrisson
Going beyond the call of duty – while off duty!
Being a police officer is like being a politician. Your work day doesn’t end at five o’clock. Sûreté du Québec officer Claude Harrisson valiantly demonstrated this by arresting two thieves while on medical leave. In the fall of 1999, in Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Mr. Harrisson is waiting in the supermarket parking lot when he notices that an employee of the Caisse Populaire is apparently being harassed by two young men. Suddenly the two men leave the woman and drive away in a white car. Mr. Harrisson goes over to the woman. She tells him that her car has just been stolen and that the two suspects tried to abduct her.
Knowing the direction taken by the suspects, officer Harrisson pursues them. Having patrolled the area for almost eight years, Harrisson knows the territory surrounding Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes in Joliette like the back of his hand. He knows that scenic Route 131 is used regularly by people who like to slow down and look at the scenery. Harrisson heads towards Route 131. Soon after he arrives at the scene of an accident. In the ditch, he sees the white car. Not far away, walking along the side of the road, Harrisson spots the two suspects heading towards the vehicle of a driver who has stopped and is about to get out of his car.
To prevent another theft, another pursuit, and perhaps another accident, officer Harrisson approaches the suspects and proceeds to arrest them. Out of uniform, without a firearm, without handcuffs, but with a lot of courage, officer Harrisson did his job as a police officer. Now that is serving the community!
SÛRETÉ DU QUÉBEC
Officer Gilbert Gauthier
Officer displays passion for police work after 28 years of service
Gilbert Gauthier has 28 years of service with the Sûreté du Québec. He has spent the past 20 years working with a very special squad: the SWAT team. In fact, he has been with this unit since its inception. What we would like to emphasize here is not so much a particular event, but an entire career.
Mr. Gilbert has participated in hundreds of missions considered to be extremely dangerous and over 1,000 high-risk missions. His career consists of taking risks so that others will not have to. His speciality is not karate, climbing or sharp-shooting. His speciality is danger control. Protecting the lives of citizens and other police officers is the essence of his career.
His enthusiasm, his willingness to succeed and his bravery have never diminished over the years. We still see in him that motivation to improve and to contribute to the evolution of the group. He sets an example for the new members and knows how to make them benefit from his knowledge and his experience.
By presenting him with this Prix Policiers du Québec trophy, we would like to honour an athlete, because one has to be an athlete to deserve a spot in this squad, and to congratulate a professional, as well as to thank a colleague for the quality of his work. But above all, this is to pay tribute to a man who continues to display passion and a love for law enforcement.
Sergeant Pierre Lescadre
Drug prevention unit making a difference in Quebec
Sergeant Pierre Lescadre will soon have 30 years of service in the RCMP. After a brilliant career in criminal investigations and in management, he is now in charge of a unit that provides information on drug awareness. Under his direction, this service is committed to mobilizing community-driven initiatives in the prevention of drug abuse.
In 1999, in collaboration with approximately 60 police forces in Quebec, this unit held no less than 524 information workshops across the province, bringing together nearly 24,000 people, as well as having information booths during special events and giving dozens of media interviews. Furthermore, Lescadre’s unit is a major partner in the continuing anti-drug abuse campaign sponsored by Quebec’s Minister of Health and Social Services. The goal of these activities is to take a proactive step in identifying problems related to drug and alcohol consumption in different areas of Quebec society, to establish communication strategies and to make recommendations to political leaders.
It is through these methods that Pierre Lescadre continues to fight crime. By presenting him with this award, we would like to honour a career that serves the greater good.
DRUMMONDVILLE PUBLIC SECURITY
Captain Gaston Bellemare, Detective Daniel Rousseau,
Corporal Jimmy Moffatt, Constable Stéphane Morin
and Constable Paul Couture
Concerta and Crado projects help clean up downtown Drummondville
Police officers are sometimes criticized for being part of a brotherhood. And yet, this sense of belonging to a community can sometimes turn out to be quite useful. This is how an extremely efficient partnership was established between the Drummondville Public Security Service and the Drummondville detachment of the RCMP. In order to restore law and order in the downtown area, which had been threatened by the presence of youth rowdiness and a drug trafficking ring, detectives from both the town’s public security service and the RCMP joined forces.
Dubbed the Concerta and Crado projects, these two infiltration investigations were undertaken, leading to the arrest of approximately 30 people, including a member of a criminal biker gang and his distribution ring. The tenacity and continuous efforts by Captain Gaston Bellemare and Detective Daniel Rousseau (from the Drummondville Public Security Service), and by Corporal Jimmy Moffatt and Constables Stéphane Morin and Paul Couture (of the Drummondville RCMP detachment) demonstrated that co-operation, the exchange of expertise between different police forces and hard word lead to positive results. Thanks to the patience, ingenuity and combined resources of two police forces, downtown Drummondville is back to being a great place to live and work.
Improving the quality of life for citizens – a direct effect of the police mission.
Constable Linda Brosseau
Constable speaks for Quebec’s missing children
Constable Linda Brosseau is a member of the Federal Investigations and Immigration Section of the RCMP. For five years, she has acted as co-ordinator of the Missing Children’s Registry. In collaboration with officials from Customs, Immigration and Foreign Affairs, she has worked everyday to find children who have been declared missing and to bring them back home. Understandably, it is an emotionally difficult job.
Brosseau, however, is not the type of person to count her hours of work. She makes herself available to the program 24 hours a day. A relentless worker, Constable Brosseau is constantly searching for missing children or training others involved in the search, teaching them the techniques necessary to find these children and to apprehend the abductors in cases of kidnapping.
In 1999, in Quebec alone, there were 9,562 children reported missing. Thanks to partnerships with various police and government agencies, a total of 9,273 children were found. Unfortunately, this is not enough for Constable Brosseau, who is always thinking of those who are still missing. What has happened to the 300 children yet to be found?
Every year, May 25 marks International Missing Children’s Day. This day is commemorated by, among other things, a candlelight vigil. The evening allows parents who have lived through the disappearance of a child to unite and keep their hopes alive.
In recognition of her devotion, professionalism and her commitment to this cause, the Missing Children’s Network of Canada has named Constable Brosseau “Police Officer of the Year.” This prestigious award is presented every year to a police officer who has made an outstanding contribution to the missing children’s cause.
To acknowledge the exemplary attitude of Constable Brosseau toward the community, we are delighted to present her with a Prix Policiers du Québec award. This gesture is our way of recognizing the value of her work and encouraging her efforts.
MONTREAL URBAN COMMUNITY POLICE
Constables Stéphane St-Jacques and Marc Thibault
Officers risk their lives to subdue a crazed shooter
On November 3, 1999, at 10:15 p.m., Montreal Urban Community Police Constables Marc Thibault and Stéphane St-Jacques were thrown into an extremely dangerous situation. The evening began rather quietly with nothing out of the ordinary to report. The officers then drove to Woodside Avenue, a residential area composed of small apartment blocks housing about 200 people. All of a sudden, shots rang out in the night and the officers saw, about 100 metres away in one of the courtyards, a man armed with a rifle. After calling for back-up they left the patrol car and approached the armed man, with Constable St-Jacques on one side and Constable Thibault on the other.
The officers noticed that the weapon was a 30 gauge rifle and that their bullet-proof vests were useless against this type of firearm. However, they didn’t have the luxury of taking time to analyze the situation because suddenly a woman walked into the courtyard. The suspect suddenly disappeared. He had gone back inside his apartment. Constable St-Jacques insisted that the woman get behind the shelter of the car with him. Without really understanding what was happening, the woman joined the officer.
The officer then saw the suspect coming out of one of the apartments. The man, in turn, saw Constable St-Jacques and the citizen behind the car. He lifted his rifle and shot, aiming in their direction. Constable St-Jacques threw himself over the woman to protect her. The bullets shattered the car windows. Meanwhile, Constable Thibault was on the other side of the courtyard. Once he realized that the man was shooting at Constable St-Jacques and the citizen, he had no choice but to try to neutralize him quickly. Positioned 30 feet away, the safest and most efficient way was to shoot at the man. The man was struck in the back, sustaining a non-life threatening injury.
It was later learned that the man had a serious history of psychiatric problems and, at the time of the incident, was suffering from severe paranoid delusions. He believed his life was in danger. The first shots heard by the officers were at a passing car, the bullet lodging in the passenger’s headrest, and also at an older woman who had the misfortune of looking out her window to see what all the noise was about.
Thanks to the bravery, initiative and professionalism of Constables Thibault and St-Jacques, lives were certainly saved. These constables should be proud of themselves and we are delighted to award them a Prix Policiers du Québec. They fully deserve this distinction.
Corporal André Émond
A highly skilled police officer is set to retire after 35 years of service
In May 2001, after 35 years of valiant service to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Mr. André Émond takes his final bow. Corporal Émond began his career as a police officer in Québec. After a few years in Sherbrooke and with the aboriginal community in Kahnawake, Mr. Émond travelled to the Northwest Territories, where he served from 1970 to 1976. For one whole year he worked alone at the Grise Fjord Station, a station that is located only 500 kilometres from the North Pole.
Upon his return to civilization, Corporal Émond was appointed to the Quebec City detachment where he worked for several years in drug enforcement. In this sector, his talents as a detective earned him the respect of his peers and of other officers in the region. He then became the project manager for the launch of the Criminal Intelligence and Analysis Section, covering all of Northern Quebec. Then, for five years, he worked with a specialized unit that looked into organized crime in Quebec. Finally, in 1980, Mr. Émond became Vice-President of the Quebec RCMP Members’ Association.
For all these years of service to the Canadian public, for his efforts to bring together aboriginal citizens and other Canadian citizens, and for his commitment to his colleagues of the Québec Mounted Police, we would like to thank him. With this Prix Policiers du Québec award, we salute André Hémond the man, the police officer and the union official. Thank you, André.
SÛRETÉ DU QUÉBEC
Officers Sonia Fontaine and Pierre Lemay
Vigilance by officers saves family from fire
It is 4 a.m. on June 4, 2000. Sûreté du Québec officers Sonia Fontaine and Pierre Lemay are patrolling their sector. Mr. Lemay has 29 years of experience — Ms. Fontaine, 8 months. They are patrolling Route 122, in Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil, in the MRC of Drummond. It is a clear night, so clear in fact that the officers see a billow of smoke far off in the sky. Approaching the source of the smoke, they realize that flames are shooting out of a garage and running along a house. The officers realize they must act quickly.
Officer Lemay hurries into the house. The father of the family is woken up by the patrol car siren. He informs officer Lemay that his wife and two children are on the upper floor. Officer Lemay goes up to help them. After making sure the father is safe, officer Fontaine joins officer Lemay. She directs everyone to the front door because she notices that the other exit is now in flames. Everyone finally makes it out of the burning house, thanks to the courage of Fontaine and Lemay.
It is the hazards of the job that led these two officers to the scene, but it is their professionalism that gave them the tools to intervene and to save the lives of all members of this family. Such events can only help to reinforce the feeling of trust in policing by our citizens. While citizens are asleep, police officers watch over them. Protecting the health and safety of citizens, that is a noble mission.
BY FREDERIC SERRE
Bravery and dedication are two key words that police officers rarely like to attribute to themselves. And yet, they are words that truly describe the law enforcement family around the world.
Police officers in the province of Quebec are a devoted segment of the national and international policing community. Devotion and dedication to a job well done are integral concepts in the discharge of policing duties and Quebec is a prime example of that. Day in and day out, the men and women who make up Quebec’s front-line policing family display the finest qualities of law enforcement. They bring honour to the profession.
In early 1999, members of the RCMP Quebec Members’ Association took concrete action to honour RCMP and other police officers in Quebec who have gone beyond the call of duty. As the momentum grew, so too, did the enthusiasm of another important police association – the Quebec Provincial Police Association. Soon, the association representing SQ officers joined forces with the RCMP Members’ Association and plans got under way for the province’s inaugural Quebec Police Awards, a gala saluting RCMP, SQ, and other Quebec police officers who have carried out their duties with dignity and courage.
The ceremony on November 3, 1999 at the Château Champlain Marriott Hotel in Montreal featured politicians from all levels of government, members of the Quebec policing and legal community and guests from other policing agencies in Canada. Also on hand was former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who wished to be there to support his former RCMP body guard, who was being honoured for his work. This would prove to be Mr. Trudeau’s last public appearance before passing away 10 months later. The event also attracted important players from the province’s business sector, including Ford Motors of Canada, the chief sponsor of the inaugural Quebec Police Awards.
SQ and Quebec RCMP association officials met during the year and received nominations from across the province. The 33 winners were selected in early October.
“This inaugural gala celebrates the professionalism and the determination of these fine police officers by honouring them before their peers and members of the political and business community,” said Gaétan Delisle, president of the RCMP Quebec Members’ Association.
“We are honouring a fine group of men and women,” added Michel Meunier, vice-president of the Quebec Provincial Police Association. “Our association is proud to be celebrating their achievements.”
All proceeds from the 1999 Quebec Police Awards were donated to the Foundation For Research Into Children’s Diseases. This was done through the SQ and RCMP associations’ respective charitable organizations – the RCMP Quebec Members’ Association Foundation and the Quebec Provincial Police Association’s Humanitarian Fund.
You are about to read the stories of officers who have gone beyond the call of duty to uphold the law, crack important cases, or simply demonstrated tremendous courage in helping citizens.
These are the stories of the men and women who have shone and captured the hearts of, not only the jury, but also the community that they have sworn to protect.
They are a credit to the badge.
Constable Michel Rhéaume
Constable Michèle Boily
Sûreté du Québec, MRC Maskinongé
Constables save two men during morning fire
At 5 a.m. on September 9, 1999, Constable Michel Rhéaume and auxiliary officer Michèle Boily were patrolling along Louiseville’s St. Laurent Street when they smelled smoke near the Chez Max restaurant. As they approached the two-storey building, they spotted black smoke spilling from the ground floor and called the fire department. The officers noticed that there were apartments on top of the restaurant and had to circle the building to gain entry through a rear door. Once inside, the smoke was so intense that the constables had difficulty breathing as they made their way down the darkened hallway. “There was smoke right to the top of the walls and we could hear the crackling of the flames and the floor was vibrating under our feet,” said Boily, who has since been promoted to the rank of constable.
“We knocked on the doors, while yelling, ‘Police!’” said Rhéaume. “At the first door, the man woke up and we told him to leave because there was a fire. At the second door, the tenant never woke up. He was sleeping deeply so we had to break down the door.”
After making sure that there were no more tenants in the building, the officers then evacuated five tenants from an apartment building located next to the inferno.
“The actions of officers Boily and Rhéaume definitely saved two lives,” said Sgt. Robert Laframboise, the two officers’ supervisor. “These two officers saved the lives of two citizens at the risk of their own security.”
While both constables tried to downplay their heroic deeds, the two men they saved had a different opinion. For Patrick Millette and Sylvain Demontigny, the officers’ actions simply saved their lives – an opinion shared by the residents of the close-knit community.
Constable Stéphan Gauvin
Sûreté du Québec, Quebec City region
Officer’s patience and courage save boy’s life
It had all the makings of a bloodbath, but the courage and calm of 10-year veteran Constable Stéphan Gauvin assured that a hostage-taking ended peacefully in the Quebec City suburb of Val Bélair on July 7, 1999.
That evening, a drugged-out and violent 23-year-old suspect stormed a residence on de Jouvence Street for no apparent reason, and grabbed a 13-year-old boy at knife point, demanding that the Sûreté du Québec send an officer to the scene.
Gauvin, who had been patrolling on his SQ motorcycle in the area, responded to the call, made by Val Bélair Police. For an hour, as police, journalists, citizens and the kidnapped boy’s family watched from behind a police barrier, Gauvin entered the house and negotiated with the suspect, who held a knife to the throat of young Jean-Philippe Audet. After calming him down and quietly talking to the suspect, Gauvin convinced the suspect to step outside and release his victim. He did, and was immediately subdued by police.
“My goal was to keep Jean-Philippe calm, and I spoke to him quietly, saying that everything would be all right,” said Gauvin. “By negotiating with the suspect, I sensed that he was willing to listen to me a little bit, so I was confident that the whole thing would end positively.”
Jean-Philippe’s mother, Christine, has nothing but praise for Gauvin. “You went beyond the call of duty,” she told Gauvin in a letter. “You really sensed that Jean-Philippe was as important to you as he is to us. You acted with your heart and your experience, and for us, that made all the difference.”
Patience and Gauvin’s ability to remain calm in the face of extreme danger played a key role in saving the boy’s life. With a drugged-out criminal on his hands, and a horde of media watching, Gauvin’s actions were nothing short of exemplary.
Constable Gaétan Fortin
Constable Arold Bernatchez
Constable Jean-Guy Thivierge
Constable Christian Lindsay
Sûreté du Québec, Quebec City region
Teamwork turns ‘accident’ into murder conviction
At first glance, it looked like a routine farming accident. On October 21, 1998, Sûreté du Québec investigators were called to a farm in St. Agapit, a tiny village about 50 kilometres west of Quebec City. At the scene, a man reported that his wife had slipped from a platform inside a barn and fallen as he was backing up a tractor. One of the wheels crushed the wife’s head, killing her instantly, the man told police.
Crime-scene technician Gaétan Fortin then went to work. His observations quickly poked holes in the husband’s story, notably: there were no traces of blood underneath the tractor or any of the wheels; the head of the victim did not display evidence of having been run over by a 5,000-kg vehicle; the scene had apparently been thoroughly washed clean with a water hose; and there was blood on the tractor’s ignition key.
An autopsy revealed that the woman’s death had been a result of one of the wheels being driven over her thorax – a conclusion that contradicted the husband’s version of events.
SQ investigators Arold Bernatchez and Jean-Guy Thivierge brought the incriminating evidence against the husband to the trial, while Constable Christian Lindsay, a crime-scene reconstruction expert, proved to the jury that the tractor mishap was definitely not an accident. The trial displayed the officers’ precision and technical expertise, which resulted in a jury’s second-degree murder conviction for the husband.
Despite the absence of a witness, the officers cited in this case succeeded in reconstructing the crime scene, letting their findings speak for the victim. In this case, what could have simply been filed as a routine accident report ended up as a murder conviction.
Corporal Yves Trudel
Corporal Ronald Groulx
Constable Patrick Dubé
Constable Miville Bédard
Constable Sylvain Tremblay
Constable Robert Pigeon
Sûreté du Québec, Montreal region
Sergeant Gilles Michaud
Corporal Normand Denis
Constable Alain Binet
RCMP, Montreal region
Det.-Lt. Yves Riopel
Constable Jean-Pierre Gaudette
Insp. Martial Tremblay
Sgt.-Det. Camille VanHoutte
Quebec City Police Service
Co-operation a blow to biker gangs in Quebec
Operation Carcajou was born in October 1995, following a wave of killings and bombings linked to the drug war between rival biker gangs in the Montreal region. Thanks to the joint and tireless efforts of Carcajou’s players – the Sûreté du Québec, the RCMP, the Montreal Urban Community Police Service and Quebec City Police – arrests and hundreds of search-and-seizures resulted in a dramatic destabilization of gang warfare. Another blow to the Rock Machine and Hells Angels was the creation of the Unité Mixte d’Enquêtes sur le Crime Organisé (Mixed Investigative Unit on Organized Crime), a group linking police expertise on biker gangs with traditional organized crime knowledge.
Dubbed the Repaire and Roma projects, the two separate units saw the involvement of the SQ and RCMP officers, cited for 1999 Quebec Police Awards citations, along with MUCPD and Quebec City Police Service investigators. Their mission: an unrelenting attack on the leadership of the Hells and Rock Machine, by seizing the fortified headquarters of the Rock Machine, and putting a successful grip on the Hells’ activities in the province of Quebec. This was done despite working in two cities with four different policing groups with varying philosophies and limited manpower.
On May 27, 1997 a massive Roma police operation involving 600 officers swooped down on gang locations in the Montreal, Quebec City, Bonaventure and Rouyn regions, resulting in: 60 search warrants, 12 seized buildings, 15 confiscated vehicles, 50 witnesses, 800 pounds of explosives, detonators and remote-control bomb detonators, a PCP lab, 12 arrests and the seizure of more than 50,000 documents. Repaire, meanwhile, netted 110 warrants, five seized buildings, seven arrests, cocaine and more than 60,000 documents. The most important outcome was the seizure of the Rock Machine’s two bunkers and their court-mandated evictions.
While the tenacity of the investigators put a large dent in the war between the biker gangs, it also demonstrated that co-operation among police officers can bring innovation and seemingly impossible results. Thanks to the patience and resourcefulness of these officers, the impossible became possible.
Constable Riette Leblanc
RCMP, Montreal region
Officer’s investigative work sealed fate of UK trial
A jetlagged, but confident and articulate Constable Riette Leblanc sealed the fate of a murder trial in Winchester, England on December 12, 1996 – only a few hours after being called overseas by British authorities. Investigators with the Dorset Police would later praise Leblanc for the manner in which she gave her evidence in court, which resulted in the successful murder conviction of Russel Causley.
The complicated case was one that Leblanc knew thoroughly because of its Canadian connection. Causley, who, as the investigation would reveal, murdered his ex-wife, Veronica Mary Packman. The killer lived in Montreal for several years before moving to England to live with his new girlfriend, with whom he had had an affair while married.
In 1985, Causley’s wife disappeared in England. A year later, Causley returned to Montreal with his new girlfriend to work and live. In 1993, Causley faked his own death in an attempt to cash in on his life insurance. Police nabbed him and charged him with fraud. He was jailed for two years. That’s when he revealed to fellow inmates that he had murdered his ex-wife.
The RCMP investigation into Causley’s claims to inmates resulted in British police re-opening the disappearance of Packman and a visit to Montreal in 1996. Leblanc dug deeply into Causley’s past, unearthing key information on his finances, property ownership and character. She also discovered that Causley’s girlfriend had used Packman’s identity to enter Canada, and even found work using the victim’s name.
On December 11, 1996, Dorset Police contacted Leblanc in Montreal and requested her presence in court. That very evening, she boarded a plane and at 10:30 a.m. the following day, she was delivering her testimony. On December 18, 1996, after a two-week trial, Causley was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. It was only the 18th time since 1945 that a British murder trial had ended in a conviction despite the absence of a body.
“During the course of this whole investigation, Constable Leblanc reflected nothing but credit on both herself and the RCMP,” said Dorset Police Chief J. Homer.
Sergeant Michel Roussy
RCMP, Montreal region
Officer’s quick reaction prevents tragedy at HQ
The lobby of the RCMP’s C Division headquarters on Dorchester Street in Westmount is usually a busy, bustling place, with civilian and police employees entering and leaving the building. But on the afternoon of April 3, 1998, chaos reigned when a machete-wielding man went on a violent spree at the RCMP headquarters building. Thanks to the lightning-fast reaction of Sgt. Michel Roussy, who shot and injured the suspect, no one was killed and the drama ended quickly.
Roussy’s takedown was so well done that a video tape of the incident, obtained from a security camera, is now part of the training program for police cadets at the RCMP training centre in Regina.
The bizarre incident began earlier that day when the suspect showed up at the headquarters, saying he was upset with the Canadian government’s foreign affairs policies and the abuse of human rights abroad. Although the man was upset, security personnel managed to calm him down. He was told to leave the premises.
The man later returned, this time armed with a machete. He began by smashing the windshields of every vehicle in the parking lot, before swinging his weapon in an attempt to kill anyone who happened to be near him. The suspect then entered the lobby of the building and continued his violent rampage. Onlookers ran for cover, barely escaping injury as the suspect became more and more enraged.
Roussy quickly arrived on the scene and attempted to talk to the man. Instead, the suspect lunged at Roussy with the machete, but when the man approached within two feet, the officer fired his weapon, downing the suspect. An ambulance was called and the man was taken to hospital to be treated for his injury.
Roussy is a 27-year RCMP veteran with vast experience in international policing. He worked alongside the Drug Enforcement Agency in Washington and was part of an anti-heroin investigation in Asia.
Roussy displayed tremendous calm and professionalism that afternoon. If not for his vigilance and quick action, the incident would have ended in bloodshed and tragedy.
Staff-Sgt. Charles Castonguay
Sgt. Robert Philion
Constable Sylvain L’Heureux
Constable Robert Morin
Constable Sylvain Raizenne
Constable Patrick Fardeau
Constable William Robbe
RCMP, Customs and Excise Section, Montreal
RCMP officers key in U.S. trade embargo bust
Teamwork, co-operation and expertise shown by this group of RCMP officers have a lot to do with the successful outcome of two separate, massive investigations which have brought a pair of Montreal-area businessmen to trial for trying to export military equipment to countries targeted by United States export embargoes.
Indeed, as lead investigator Daniel Supnick, the U.S. Embassy’s liaison officer for American Customs Service, said: “The sensitivity of these files required a lot of expertise and professionalism. Both files worked out extremely well and both are far stronger because of the co-operation from the (RCMP).”
Both cases are set to go to trial, following the arrests conducted in 1999. At the request of the American Embassy, the RCMP went to work on finding the missing links in the case against Montrealers Colin Shu and Pietro Rigolli. Shu was arrested in Boston by American authorities for allegedly sending sophisticated military equipment through his Canadian-based company to China. He was also charged with weapons exportation, complicity and money laundering.
In a second case, Dollard des Ormeaux businessman Rigolli was arrested in Connecticut and accused of illegally exporting airplane engine parts purchased from Pratt & Whittney in Longueuil to Iran, in violation of a 1992 American embargo on that country.
These seven officers worked extensively on backing up the charges with detailed findings involving the business activities of both suspects. Without this fact-finding work, the American authorities would not have been able to bring these cases to trial. Gordon Giffin, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada described the RCMP officers’ work as “extraordinary.”
Constable Daniel Trudeau
Sûreté du Québec, Montreal region
The triumph of science and police work
Constable Daniel Trudeau’s skills and tenacity are proof that science and police work can be a lethal blow to vicious murderers. Trudeau, a crime-scene technician, is considered one of Canada’s leading experts on an advanced scientific technique that extracts latent, digital prints from the bodies of homicide victims.
On June 21, 1995, Trudeau was called to the scene of a vicious murder. The victim, a woman in her 60s, had been brutally raped before being bludgeoned to death. Was there any hope of extracting fingerprints from the blood-smeared body? Trudeau’s advanced technological breakthrough would quickly bring an answer to the question with the exact identity and arrest of the killer. Using a polilight examination, Trudeau found weak traces of fingerprints on parts of the body. Using an ortho-tolidine solution on the skin, Trudeau saw that it had a reaction with the hemoglobin, leaving a blue coloration. In turn, the blue coloring revealed traces of finger and palm prints. In no time, the killer was under arrest.
Although it sounds like high-tech science, Trudeau says the ortho-tolidine solution is a substance used routinely by people who test chlorine levels in swimming pools. “That’s right,” said Trudeau. “If you look closely at the products you use on your pool, you’ll find that one of them is ortho-tolidine!”
Trudeau’s technique has since gone beyond Canada’s borders. In fact, thanks to a report he prepared for the RCMP Gazette magazine in 1996, other police forces around the world have contacted Trudeau to learn more about his simple, yet effective breakthrough.
“Imagine the instant satisfaction that a crime-scene technician experiences when he tests a new experiment on a body, which links a latent fingerprint to a suspect?” said Trudeau, adding that it has happened several times since the 1995 breakthrough.
Constable Jean-Louis Tremblay
Sûreté du Québec, M.R.C. Maria-Chapdelaine
Constable’s road safety campaign a life saver
Constable Jean-Louis Tremblay, a 25-year veteran of the Sûreté du Québec is credited by many in the transport industry with being a guiding force in the decrease of serious accidents on Quebec’s highways during the past four years.
In 1996, Tremblay played a leading role in a coroner’s inquest, which investigated the dramatic rise of fatal accidents on the province’s highways and isolated roads, primarily used by forestry and mining trucks. It is Tremblay’s efforts that resulted in a decision by the provincial government to impose new Highway Code amendments aimed at reducing the carnage along Quebec’s highways.
In 1997, Tremblay introduced a provincial think-tank featuring representatives from forestry and mining companies, and a public-awareness campaign that saw pamphlets distributed to some 3,000 targeted drivers who regularly use the province’s forestry highways. The campaign saw a 50-per-cent drop in the total number of fatal accidents on the same roads in 1998. The campaign was also such a success that it was implemented throughout the rest of the province, along with posters featuring the “Choc” slogan.
Tremblay’s innovative thinking has certainly saved lives, says Sgt. Lucien Harvey, director of the SQ’s M.R.C. region. “Constable Tremblay is a first-rate member who has been greatly involved in this campaign,” said Harvey. “His dedication deserves to be recognized by our patrolling officers throughout Canada.”
Constable Rhonda Pedersen
RCMP, Montreal region
Wake up call for telemarketing fraud
As an investigator with the fraud and commercial crime unit (Colt unit) of C Division, Constable Rhonda Pedersen began working in 1997 on a series of telemarketing complaints that, at first glance, appeared rather routine. But as Pedersen and her colleagues in this specialized team began to dig deeper, they found that the telemarketing group they were investigating was involved in an international campaign of fraud totalling more than $586,000 U.S., with its principle figure located in Montreal. Pedersen traced the investigation to the U.S. and throughout Canada, establishing important contacts with law enforcement authorities and elderly victims in both countries.
For several months, Pedersen kept daily contact with the victims – up to five a day, reassuring them and providing a listening ear. “Constable Pedersen regularly showed tremendous patience in order to listen to the victims and gather the necessary information to arrest the fraud artists in Montreal,” said Staff-Sgt. Gaétan Delisle.
Pedersen’s laborious research resulted in 29 criminal charges brought against a suspect. It is the first time in the history of telemarketing fraud investigations that an RCMP officer has been successful in obtaining a court-ordered freeze of revenue allegedly obtained from criminal activity – in this case, $100,000 U.S.
On October 28, Pedersen was honoured for her work by RCMP Commissioner Phil Murray during a special ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of women serving in the RCMP.
Sergeant Guy Quintal
RCMP, Montreal region
Retired sergeant leaves his mark on international fight against organized crime
Sergeant Guy Quintal may have recently retired after 27 years of distinguished service to the RCMP, but the impact of his tireless work in the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking is still being felt among the international law enforcement community.
Quintal began his career with the Narcotics Section in Montreal in 1974. He provided VIP security for Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, John Turner and Joe Clark, as well as Royal visits, the 1984 Papal tour and events involving other dignitaries. But his career specialty was the war against the illicit drug trade.
In 1994, Quintal and two colleagues with the Montreal Urban Community Police Service, received the International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association Award of Honour for their instrumental work in bringing down the notorious Montreal West End Gang. Quintal was part of a joint RCMP-MUCPD task force known as Project CHOC, launched in the early 1980s to combat the gang, known for its bombing and contract killing campaign. The project also involved the Drug Enforcement Agency in Jacksonville and Gainesville, Florida.
The lengthy investigations resulted in the arrests and convictions of West End Gang leaders Allan Ross and William McAllister on major drug and murder charges. Over the years, as their investigation continued, Quintal developed a confidential informant who infiltrated the West End Gang and allowed CHOC to unravel the entire operation, including the seizure of huge amounts of drug money and narcotics. The investigation also resulted in the seizure of assets worth more than $10 million by Canadian and U.S. authorities.
The scope and territory covered by Project CHOC is so massive that the work spanned more than a decade and involved law enforcement authorities on an international scale. As a direct result of the outstanding leadership and investigative expertise of Quintal and his colleagues, Project CHOC has developed into one of the most successful narcotic task forces in North America and remains on the leading edge of international law enforcement.