Emily Coccimiglio

I would like to nominate Emily Coccimiglio for the police award not only because shes an amazing police officer and person, but because she saved my life and didn't give up. I am a recovering drug addict of almost 2 years, and I struggled for a very long time. Emily believed in me when I didn't believe in myself.

My life was on a downward spiral, I was doing drugs, stealing, not going to school, not going to work, not taking care of myself. The doctors told me if I didn't quit, the mixture of drugs would kill me in 2 months. I was in and out of the mental health ward, really struggling with my family relationship because of my drug use. The police were called on numerous cases because of my violence, mental illness and drug use. Emily somehow always ended up on the call for me.

From the drugs I was using I looked like a zombie and had awful scars and scabs all over my body. By this time I was ready to give up on life but one night really changed it all. I went to my friends house and he was very concerned about me and ended up calling the police. Of course with my history I ran and hid. About 15-20 minutes later I got a call on my cell phone, I'm not sure what possessed me to pick up the unknown call but I did and it happened to be Emily... we actually ended up talking for quite a while that night and by the end of the call she had me convinced to go to rehab.

I ended up going to an amazing rehab center that changed my life. I completed the program... it was 3 months long and was the best thing that ever happened to me. I had an extremely hard time staying sober before I left but Emily was there every second to help me get through it. I knew she was always a phone call away and she talked me through it all. I am still sober, have finished high school, and am currently attending college for Social Service Work. I'd really like to work with teens with addictions and mental health. I work part time as a cashier, my relationship with my family is amazing, and my mental health is amazing.

Emily is always checking up on me, and we are working together to get me out speaking about my story in the community. As much as Emily says I did it myself, without her I wouldn't be where I am today. She didn't have to care, go out of her way, and push me, but she did and there's not a single word to describe how incredibly grateful I am. She never stopped caring, she always said she saw something in me and without her hope, I would still be doing drugs.

She doesn't just go to work do her job and leave, she goes out of her way to help people and to me that is a true definition of a police officer. It is people like Emily that make a difference. If we had more people like Emily the world would be a better place. She is someone I will remember until the day I die. Emily is my hero now and will continue to be. I aspire to be like her as I grow older, and because of Emily, I can grow older. I really do believe, along with a lot of other people, that if anyone deserves this award it's Emily.

Photo credit: Jeff Klassen/SooToday