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Police Appreciation Night

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A night to remember

Each year, York Regional Police shines a light on the outstanding work conducted each day by our members.

The members being honoured at Police Appreciation Night 2024 have gone above and beyond and have lived the York Regional Police values of professionalism, compassion, fairness, courage and respect.

They have each embodied the service’s motto: Deeds Speak.

York Regional Police is grateful for the ongoing support from members of the community, local businesses, members of community organizations, representatives from local, regional and provincial government, the Police Services Board and, finally, the Police Appreciation Night committee.

Your support makes for a safer and more secure region for all those we serve.

By joining us at Police Appreciation Night and through your generous support, you have played a great part in enabling Victim Services of York Region and the York Region Centre for Community Safety to continue their ever-important work supporting victims of crime. Learn more about the event's beneficiaries.

Police Appreciation Night award winners

Herbert H. Carnegie Award

Detective Constable Dovelin Hawthorne

Growing up in Jamaica, Detective Constable Dovelin Hawthorne was always passionate about soccer.

He would spend hours playing with his friends anywhere they could find a make-do field. He played in bare feet, because he didn’t have soccer cleats.

When Detective Constable Hawthorne was 19, he immigrated to Canada with his family. But, even after moving, Constable Hawthorne’s parents would gather items and money to send them back to their hometown any chance they could.

After the passing of his parents and in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Detective Constable Hawthorne was looking for a way to give back and honour their memories, rallying the community for a positive purpose.

That's when he started the Caring Cleats Initiative. Watch the video to learn more.

Professionalism in Policing Award

Project Monarch Investigative Team

More than 400 charges were laid and 22 people were arrested after a large-scale gun and drug trafficking network was dismantled by York Regional Police investigators.

The investigation began in 2021, when officers identified someone believed to be trafficking controlled substances. As the investigation progressed, police found additional suspects distributing cocaine, fentanyl and firearms in Brampton and London.

Eventually, police identified suspects shipping illegal guns through Walpole Island First Nation, on the border of Ontario and Port Huron in Michigan.

Watch the video to hear about the outstanding work of the Project Monarch Investigative team.

Professionalism in Policing Award

Rafipour Homicide Investigative Team

Soheil Rafipour, 33, was leaving a party on Christmas eve 2018, in a quiet residential area of Richmond Hill, when he was targeted and shot at multiple times.

Rafipour collapsed on the sidewalk as the suspect continued to fire shots at him. Fifteen months later, two people were arrested in connection with the incident.

Around the time of Rafipour’s death, there was a surge of violence involving several tow truck companies in the Greater Toronto area, which included arsons and other shootings.

The investigative team—led by Detective Deborah Gilmour—determined one of the accused in the Rafipour murder was entrenched in the tow truck industry.

Watch the video to see how the Rafipour Homicide Investigative Team brought justice to Rafipour's family. 

Garrett Styles Courage in the Line of Duty Award

It was a quiet evening, just days before Christmas in 2022, when shots rang out at a luxury condominium building on Jane Street, north of Rutherford Road in Vaughan.

Panicked calls flooded in to York Regional Police—an armed shooter was moving through the building.

Several gunshots were heard, but the suspect’s whereabouts in the massive building were unclear.

YRP 9-1-1 Communicators expertly relayed the information to officers on the front line, who responded immediately.

When officers arrived at the Bellaria Residences condominium, they encountered a horrific scene. Six people suffered from gunshot wounds in separate units, on separate floors of the building.

Though officers attempted life-saving measures, tragically, five people were pronounced deceased. The sixth was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

YRP officers immediately took control of the situation and planned and executed a co-ordinated approach. Risking their own lives, they entered the building in search of the gunman.

The suspect was located and stopped, before more violence could occur.

Only eight minutes had passed since communicators received the first 9-1-1 call.

The coordinated, professional and calculated response from members of YRP prevented further tragedy.

The ability of YRP officers to effectively apply their training to a critical, real-time incident ensured the safety of all of those responding to the call.

For those officers, embodying YRP values of courage and professionalism wasn’t just a platitude. That night, it saved lives.

Leo McArthur Civilian Recognition Award

Administrative Assistant Suzie Broad

Suzie Broad, an 11-year-member of York Regional Police, has been honoured with the Leo MacArthur Civilian Recognition Award.

Broad currently serves as the administrative assistant in Investigative Services, where she is an integral member of the team and epitomizes professionalism.

She carries a positive, energetic attitude and is always willing to lend a hand to help those who need it—in and outside the office.

Broad regularly volunteers her time to multiple York Regional Police endeavours. She has been a member of the Ceremonial Mounted Unit for eight years and collects gifts for families in need during the Holiday Heroes campaign.

Broad is a superhero to her colleagues, but also to children in the community. She has worn the York Unity costume for the last three years, regularly attending events to connect with our region’s youngest citizens.

Learn more about Broad's many contributions to YRP and the community by watching the video. 

Chief For a Day Essay Contest Winner

Grade 5 Student Amanah Datoo

When Amanah Datoo wakes up, she has the intention of making the most of every day, and that’s exactly what she did on her day as Chief of York Regional Police.

Amanah is a Grade 5 student at German Mills Public School in Markham. When she heard about the Chief For a Day essay contest, the ideas came rushing to her.

“My mind went into overdrive with all the words and sentences I wanted to share answering the question of what Deeds Speak means to me,” she said.

Each year, hundreds of Grade 5 students submit an essay for the Chief For a Day essay contest.

Out of hundreds of submissions, Amanah and nine other children were selected and bravely delivered their essays in front of a panel of judges.

Ultimately, Amanah’s thoughtful essay and her optimistic attitude secured her the top job for a day.

Learn more about Amanah and how she spent her day as YRP top cop. 

2024 Police Appreciation Night beneficiaries

York Region Centre for Community Safety

The York Region Centre for Community Safety (YRCCS) is a service delivery hub for survivors of intimate partner violence, family violence or human trafficking.

YRCCS seeks to assist those in need help in finding resources, safety and hope. It offers a one-stop spot for survivors to receive the support they require.

YRCCS offers a number of supports including, crisis intervention such as shelters, prevention supports such as income subsidy supports and education programs.

It also offers special priority housing intervention supports such as Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program and basic universal human service supports such as education, hospitals, public health and transportation.

Victim Services of York Region

Victim Services of York Region (VSY) is a non-profit, charitable agency that works in partnership with York Regional Police and the Ontario Provincial Police to provide 24-hour emotional support and assistance to people who have been victimized by crime or other tragic circumstances.

VSY provides emotional support, practical assistance, information and referrals to those in need.

The agency offers a number of programs including on-scene response, the victim quick response program, the homicide survivor support group, the suicide bereavement support group, telephone crisis response and more.

Special guest

Jaspreet Gill, Executive Director of York Region Centre for Community Safety

Jaspreet Gill

After hearing countless first-hand stories of abuse from the young women she taught, Jaspreet Gill, Executive Director of York Region Centre for Community Safety (YRCCS), made the life-altering decision in 2015 to leave a successful post-secondary teaching career to support women fleeing violence.

In 2019, Jaspreet led the intrepid move to register YRCCS as an independent non-profit organization, making it the only service delivery hub of its kind in York Region – a single access point for those impacted by intimate partner/sexual/domestic violence.

Jaspreet’s boldness and perseverance have meant that despite funding cuts, survivors in York Region still have a place to go.

Jaspreet continues to grow her impact in the community, expanding YRCCS’s services and collaborating with critical organizations.

Jaspreet is also a dedicated advocate and educator, speaking out wherever possible on issues related to intimate partner and gender-based violence. She has appeared on CityNews Toronto, CTV News Channel, CBC News Network and has been a guest on NewsTalk 1010.

In 2023, she received an Outstanding Leadership Award from Health 2.0 in Nevada. This year, she is being honoured by YWCA Toronto as a 2024 Woman of Distinction for Advocacy and Social Justice.