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Police officers awarded country's highest honour

May 10 2012

Saanich's police chief and a Victoria police homicide detective have been awarded the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, the country's highest such honour.

Saanich Police Chief Mike Chadwick was made an officer and Victoria Police Det. Jonathan Sheldan was made a member of the order during a ceremony with Gov. Gen. David Johnston at Rideau Hall in Ottawa Wednesday.

The award was created in 2000 to recognize exceptional police service above and beyond protecting a community.

Chadwick, a 36-year veteran with Saanich police, has been chief of the department since 2009.

In 1996, as the patrol inspector, Chadwick established minimum staffing requirements for officers to ensure officer and community safety, and introduced the Saanich police bike squad. Chadwick increased the number of officers in the traffic unit and brought in the collision analysis and reconstruction programs.

Chadwick was given a Meritorious Service Medal by the B.C. lieutenant-governor for his role in solving the 1987 murder of 20-year-old Marguerite Telesford. He has also received the Police Exemplary Service Medal from the Governor General.

Sheldan, a homicide detective with the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, was recognized for his detective work in uncovering key pieces of the Victoria Police Department's history.

The 20-year veteran, who is a member of the VicPD Historical Society, uncovered the stories of the five Victoria police officers killed in the line of duty.

He also helped to unearth the identity of the first aboriginal policeman to die during service, 140 years after the officer was murdered.

"The ultimate goal is to remember someone before us who gave all that they could give in their line of duty," Sheldan said in an interview after the ceremony.

Sheldan also shared his experience as a forensic identification officer with police officers, judges and lawyers in Afghanistan in an effort to strengthen the justice system in the war-torn country.

Sheldan was in Ottawa with his wife and 12-year-old daughter.

"They're the ones that can keep you down to earth when you're floating away," he joked.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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