2024 Nominees - PAO Police Services Hero of the Year Award | Police Association of Ontario

Provincial Constable Ken Jones - Ontario Provincial Police

On May 22nd, 2023, I called the police, ready to relapse. I have been sober since March 28, 2023. Unsure what to do and got linked up on the phone with the officer Ken Jones. I explained that I was in recovery and that I was fighting the urge to use or drink, and he listened. Open-minded, he didn't change his tone like I had experienced in other instances when I specified, I was an addict and alcoholic. He talked me down and let me ramble and vent. Showed kindness like I hadn't received in a long while. I believe if I had had relapsed. I wouldn't have survived that relapse. He made me realize that police officers are just people, honest. Caring and compassionate ones at that exist. I do believe he is the sole reason I am just over ten months sober and alive today. He may not understand the impact he has by simply being a listening ear, but that saves lives. So thanks to him!! He rocks!!

Cst. Jordan Wells

Jordan Wells goes the extra mile by helping our security team out every time he’s on shift. However, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Jordan Wells at Belleville General Hospital. Anytime Jordan came in, he was always helpful with information that needed to be provided or just a happy smile to check in! This is why Jordan Wells is my Police Hero.

S/Sgt. Richard Giroux - Ottawa Police Service

In 1999, after a seven-year career as a paramedic, Richard (S/SGT) knew from experience the life-saving capabilities of the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). He approached his employer and the McDonald Cartier International Airport (MCIA) CEO where he worked and presented them with a plan to introduce AEDs inside the terminal. It was approved after months of presentations to Health and Safety Officers, lawyers and others involved in the decision-making process. In 2000, the MCIA was the first Canadian airport to implement a defibrillator program.
Richard trained all the first responders at the airport. He was also instrumental in implementing a city-wide AED program where all police cars, cellblocks and other areas inside all police buildings had AEDs installed. He also assisted other police, fire, military and private companies in getting their own program started. Richard was the program manager for the first 12 years of its existence. it should be noted that many police services adopted AEDs due to his championing the devices. AEDs are now the standard of care in our first aid Since 1999, officers have saved approximately 20-25 lives as a direct result of having access to their defibrillators.

Cst. Terry Ship - Brantford Police Service

I went through a very traumatic situation this year in Brantford. When I found out what was happening, I was given the police station's phone number and his, as he had started an investigation before the incident with me. I had to give 3 separate statements to him because of all the trauma. And I cannot begin to tell you how patient and kind this man is. Every time he met with me, I was greeted with a smile and a hello. He was also aware of previous trauma with the police (from when I was a small child and no fault of the police). So, he would charge into street clothes before I would start so I could be more comfortable. I cannot think of a more deserving person, as he works on the crisis team helping the community. I will forever be grateful for Terry and his work. He made me feel validated and supported for the last year while the case was in court, and I know I can count on him for anything. I’ve never been more appreciative of a police officer in my life.

Det. Gary Bezaire - London Police Service

This is hard to pick the right nomination category for Gary as he is awesome at his job and a difference maker in our city. He is also an outstanding community person.
He is currently Vice President of the not-for-profit, Dad Club London which he has done amazing things in his 7 years as a board member. Over that time, he has held various board positions moving his way through the ranks. This was an uncontested and a unanimous vote for Gary to appoint him our Vice President. Through that time, Gary has been very successful organizing fundraising campaigns. Over that time, he has help raise over $200,000 in cash and support for London and area families. He has also been instrumental in organizing feed the homeless in the London community and local park clean ups. He always engages his family and their friends to participate in these events. At our most recent feed the homeless campaign, he brought his son’s hockey team out as he thought it was important for them to be involved and see how much the need is in our community. Teaching these youth the importance of giving back.
Another example of his community passion was when a young boy was out playing with his nerf gun, he was approached by some individuals that bullied him and took away his toys. Gary wanted to show the young man that not all people are bad and spearheaded a fundraising campaign to prove this. He was instrumental in raising funds to purchase every nerf toy that Toys r Us offered and delivered this to him. It was an outstanding experience that I also was involved in with my children.
This is definitely a passion of Gary’s as he is also on the board of directors for our London & Middlesex Community Housing. LMCH's Board of Directors is a dedicated group of local business and community leaders who volunteer their time to strengthen our communities. Through a governance model, their Board sets LMCH's strategic direction and oversees operations. They manage all publicly owned rent-geared-to-income housing in London & Middlesex.
On the job, Gary has done outstanding work in the areas of homicide and now working in human trafficking's. Neither of these positions are for the faint of heart and with Gary’s passion he is making a strong impact and a difference in our community.
Over the past 7 years I have know Gary his passion has been contagious to our group. Gary is a very humble individual, not one to seek accolades or attention. I feel he should be recognized for his outstanding accomplishments and achievements and am proud to have him as a board member and a friend.
Chris Burton
President Dad Club London

York Regional Police Service

I want to nominate Kristy Ashton, Kevin Stoddard, Robin Lockie Hoyt Miller and Mandy Clemens. They all go above and beyond in their community. This team of officers is always doing their best to be progressive and supportive towards the citizens of our municipality. On a professional level, they constantly refer to and try to find support for the people they come across. When they were asked to help with a community project, this team jumped aboard to help. They helped construct the Keswick community fridge, which is helping give 24/7 dignified access to food. They are remarkable, and I’m proud that they are serving my community.

Staff Sergeant Steve Simone - London Police Service

Steve Simone, from the London Ontario sexual assault unit, is my hero! I’ve never had a hero before other than my father. Steve is the kindest, most compassionate, understanding, empathetic person I know. I came to Steve with a sexual assault case. He took on my case with so much determination. The moment we spoke, I was believed. Steve worked so hard on my case. We brought it to court. We are waiting for the verdict now. Steve was incredibly amazing in court. He stood by me the entire time. I felt safe and protected. I felt love and respect. He never left my side. He blocked my assailant from seeing me until I stepped on the stand. He is an amazing and truly kind man. I feel so connected to him. He is family now. He helped save my life. He found me therapy as I was slipping through the cracks. He went out of his way to help me find inner peace. He helped me survive what was so very traumatic for me. I will never forget him. I am so impressed. He is so caring. I can’t say enough about him. Steve Simone is my HERO! He deserves to be recognized for his very difficult job. For being so approachable and kind. He is also very humble. I want Steve to know how much he is appreciated. I don’t know how to thank him enough for all he’s done. He made such a difference in my life. I am still here walking on this earth because of him. I was in such a dark place before we met. I was ready to no longer go on. Now I’m happy to be alive. Steve made this happen. I give him 100% credit for my life. Please consider Steve for the award. He is the most deserving officer. If I had my way we would be friends for life. I’m so attached to him now. Thank you for everything Steve Simone. I’ll never be able to show you how much you mean to me and my family. Steve helped me move from victim to survivor. He helped me get the courage to proceed with my case. I truly care and love him as family. Steve Simone is my HERO, forever and always! Thank you

Cst. Ali Zebian - London Police Service

What’s special about Ali is he always tries to go the extra mile to help others. I know he has worked countless overtime shifts and stayed past his 12 hours to finish work or help others. He always strives for empathy and compassion in his work. Whenever he sees someone struggling, he’s always the first one to offer to help others. He is always patient and understanding, even when helping or educating a civilian or a co-worker. Ali gives people a fair opportunity to express themselves and express their perspectives. He loves what he does and strives to make a difference in others’ lives on or off duty.

Cst. Brandon Johnson - Sarnia Police Service

Saved a young man that was shot in the neck area. He applied his hands on the wound until paramedics arrive and kept the young man calm during the event. What an amazing hero.

Sergeant James "Jamie" Butler Hearst - Ontario Provincial Police

He assists in our awareness protest to ensure everyone is safe and sound. He comes and helps us out with the youth of our Junior Canadian Rangers ages 12-17. He’s a wonderful person, and we count on him to help, and he deserves to be honoured!