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On October 10 the Surrey Board of Trade hosted the 23rd Annual Police Officer of the Year Awards, an event that recognizes the commitment and contributions of Surrey RCMP police officers, staff, volunteers and partners.

Finalists were nominated by the community or by their peers, and winners were announced in eight different categories at yesterday’s gala dinner.

Constable Richard Wright was named Police Officer of the Year (nominated by the community) for his dedication to mentoring youth in the community. One of the youth, Brahmroop Sandhu, was in attendance at the awards dinner to cheer on the officer who inspired him to make positive life choices. Cst. Wright is also a well known face at many community and youth events across Surrey.

Constable Karen Baker was named Police Officer of the Year (nominated by peers) for developing creative solutions to public safety concerns. She initiated several projects to combat crime near transit hubs and an education campaign to lock out auto crime in parking lots. Most recently Cst Baker has found her calling in the Surrey RCMP Youth Unit participating in anti-bullying initiatives and programs like Mini-Blue. She also developed a school zone safety project where students helped build a “fairy lane” to encourage Walking Wednesdays.

The Surrey Gang Enforcement Team (SGET) received the Arnold Silzer Community Policing Initiative for their work enhancing public safety through a combination of enforcement, youth education, outreach and partnerships. SGET handles over 1,000 investigations a year that result in a large volume of criminal charges, as well as drugs and weapons seizures. Their anti-gang presentation, Shattering the Image, has been viewed by thousands of Surrey youth and parents.

Marnie Neal was named Municipal Employee of the Year for her role assisting victims of crime who have experienced trauma. Marnie worked tirelessly to get an Accredited Facility Dog to join the Victim Services Unit. Last year Marnie became the handler to a beautiful labrador/golden retriever cross named Cambria from the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society. The pair has helped hundreds of victims, many of them children, to provide witness statements and testify in court.

Steve Gyorny was named Volunteer of the Year for volunteering over 700 hours to community engagement, traffic safety and crime prevention programs. Steve is known as someone who is always willing to step up and lend a helping hand. His positive attitude and strong leadership skills have made him a mentor to new volunteers.

Auxiliary Kim Treider was named Auxiliary of the Year for contributing over 1,000 hours of service to the Surrey RCMP and the City of Surrey. Kim regularly takes the initiative to proactively expand the ways that Auxiliaries can contribute to various public safety deployments and local events requiring a police presence. His extensive local knowledge and many years in the Auxiliary program have made him a trusted source for both detachment staff and his fellow Auxiliaries.

E Watch Frontline was named the Police Team of the Year for their proactive patrols targeting hot spots and nuisance areas during peak policing times in Surrey. Officers with E Watch began a community policing profile that targets areas with high property crime with overt, intelligence-led policing. This enhanced visibility has resulted in strong results and positive feedback from Surrey residents.

Save-On-Foods at 10312 King George Boulevard received the Police and Business Partnership Award for their generous donations of food that help feed individuals in the community who are dealing with homelessness, mental health challenges, addictions and crisis. The large volume of donations provided by the store have allowed the Surrey Urban Mission to serve over 2,500 hot meals per week to those in the community.

“This event is very meaningful to all of us at the Surrey RCMP because the recognition comes directly from the community we serve,” says Assistant Dwayne McDonald, Surrey RCMP Officer in Charge. “Thank you to the Surrey Board of Trade for your hard work in making this annual tradition a special night for our officers, staff, volunteers, as well as business and community partners.”

“We’re very proud of our Surrey RCMP officers and all the finalists who were recognized at this year’s dinner for their contributions to public safety,” says Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “It’s important for the Surrey Board of Trade to celebrate the efforts of those who contribute every single day to making our community a safer place to live and work.”

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees. Partial proceeds from the Surrey Board of Trade’s event go to the RCMP Youth Academy.

More photos from the event are available on the Surrey Board of Trade’s website.