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Two Shelburne officers nominated for prestigious Police Hero of the Year Award

March 14, 2019   ·   0 Comments

Written By MARNI WALSH

The  Police Association of Ontario (PAO) has announced the nomination of Shelburne Police Service (SPS) Cst. Jeff McLean and Cst. Carey Widbur for the Police Hero of the Year Award. 

The anonymous nominations reference how the ‘Hero’ has gone above and beyond the call of duty while on the job, or in their community. The PAO Awards Committee will select the winners from the elite group of nominees in April.

Cst. Widbur, is unaware of who nominated him, but says, “To say the least, I am very flattered and honoured to be brought forward. Thank you …whoever you are.” He says, “I would like to think it was brought forward based on a positive interaction I had with one of the citizens of the town.  All of us here at the SPS try our best to be approachable, positive and professional – and I like to sprinkle in a little humour when able.”

Carey Widbur first moved to Shelburne at the age of three, when his father, Al Widbur, opened up the local Stedman’s Store in town. “My family has been here for 45 years,” he says, “I am married to a wonderful supportive bride Candice, with one child, Crystal.” 

Cst. Widbur’s connection to police service goes back to high school. “I had a co-op with the Shelburne OPP,” he says. “I had a great time and learned a lot with the members of the detachment – this solidified my desire to become a police officer and do what I could to help out in my community.”

In 1991, Carey Widbur became an auxiliary officer with the Shelburne Police Service and in 1994 was hired with the Metropolitan Toronto Police Service. “I had a great time in the big city and spent my last two years there as a Detective Constable in the CIB 52 Division,” he says. 

Shelburne Police Chief Kent Moore says, “Cst. Widbur joined our police service in 2005 after having worked for both the Toronto Police Service and Orangeville Police Service. Cst. Widbur is a well-known, approachable officer who is very involved in our community. Cst. Widbur is very knowledgeable and is relied upon to complete numerous tasks and duties outside of his expected general patrol duties.  His experience is an asset to our service and the community as a whole.”

The Hero of the Year Award is not the first award nomination for Cst. Widbur. Along with two OPP members, he was awarded the OPP Award of Bravery, which resulted in his nomination and receipt of the Canadian Medal of Bravery – both of which he says, he is “very grateful for.”

“Due to the tragic nature of the call, I was not expecting either, and I still wish the outcome would have been more positive for the family involved,” he says.

Constable Widbur has also received his twenty year Police Exemplary Medal, as well as numerous courses to further his police knowledge and understanding so that he can “assist with any and everything that comes my way in relation to the community,” he says.

In conclusion, Constable Widbur says, “If I could, I would nominate all the officers here for this award – we are all local, or newly transplanted local officers who really care about this community and its citizens.”  

Like Constable Widbur, Constable Jeff McLean was nominated anomymously by members of the public. Constable McLean said the nomination came a few weeks after he “organized and ran the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics presented by the Shelburne Police Service at Shelbrrr Fest.” 

Constable McLean has been on the Shelburne Police Service as an auxiliary constable since 2014, becoming a sworn member in 2015. He was born, raised, and currently lives in the town of Shelburne, “as does the majority of my family,” says Constable McLean.

Jeff McLean attended the University of Guelph-Humber for Justice Studies. In 2010, he moved to Lake Louise to work in security at the Fairmont, returning to Ontario two years later to work at the Air Canada Centre as an event security supervisor, and as corporate security for BMO.

Prior to joining the Shelburne Police Service, Constable McLean volunteered for St. John Ambulance and Caledon Dufferin Victim Services. It was during this time that he became a volunteer auxiliary constable for SPS.

Chief Moore says, “Constable Jeff McLean joined our police service in 2015 and immediately made an impact on our community.  Since that time Jeff has continued to build valuable relationships with our citizens and community groups.  Constable McLean is a very hard working police officer who still finds time to dedicate many hours to teaching DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) to our grade six students and organize all events for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.  His enthusiasm and energy are greatly appreciated by myself and the citizens he serves. “

It was in 2017, that Constable McLean took on the work of organizing the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics. Since that time, SPS has raised over $87,000 with their Torch Runs and Polar Plunges. Constable McLean says, “Both plunges have been in the top five in Ontario for funds raised to date.” In 2018, SPS won the Highest Gross Revenue Increase in Ontario, for the 2018 fiscal year from the Special Olympics, with an award presented at the 2019 Ontario Winter Games in Sault Ste. Marie in January.  

In 2018, Constable McLean was presented with the Rising Flame award from the Special Olympics. This award is to recognize an individual who shows exceptional promise of leadership and continued contribution to the Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run. Constable McLean has represented SPS at several Torch Run events, including the 2018 Las Vegas International Conference and the 2019 Sault Ste. Marie Winter Games. 

Early this year, Constable McLean was given the position of zone coordinator with the Special Olympics. He says his role “is to ensure that all other Law Enforcement Torch Run events are run smoothly and get the support that they need to succeed. The zone encompasses the area from Tobermory to Shelburne to Guelph/Stratford/Waterloo.

For the last three years, Constable Mclean has also been busy as the Police Service’s D.A.R.E instructor for Shelburne Elementary Schools. He says the program “teaches youth the foundation of making safe and responsible decisions; how to deal with peer pressure, stress and bullying; and how to resist peer influence when it comes to drugs and alcohol.” 

“I am honoured to be nominated” for the Police Hero of the Year Award, says Constable McLean. “To receive this kind of recognition alongside my colleagues, both in SPS and other agencies means a lot.  As a police service, we don’t do what we do for the recognition, but because it’s the right thing to do.  What we do in the Shelburne Police Service is the heart and soul of what community policing is, and it is always amazing to get positive feedback directly from the community.”

In conclusion, Constable McLean told the Free Press, “It is an honour to be able to serve my hometown as a police officer.  Whether on duty or off duty, I have members of the public, whom I’ve met from various events, come up and speak with me. It’s these interactions that show what we do as a police service makes it worth it, and re-emphasizes the necessity of community policing.”



         

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