Blue Line

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A genuine connection with the community

June 30, 2022  By Brittani Schroeder


Photo credit: Kelly Mariani

Cst. Kelly Mariani named Blue Line’s 2022 Rookie of the Year

Kelly Mariani grew up in Mississauga, Ont. with her family. She has two older brothers: one works for Mississauga Fire and the other is in the Canadian Armed Forces. “A career as a first responder seemed like a natural choice for me,” she said.

As a child, Mariani developed a strong interest in team sports—specifically hockey. She quickly excelled to a highly competitive level where she demonstrated her leadership skills early on as she captained the Mississauga Junior Chiefs. Her dedication to the sport lead to a full scholarship to Clarkson University in New York, where she was the champion of two highly prestigious NCAA championships and three Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference championships. She graduated with a Bachelor of Communications degree, and soon returned to Canada to focus on becoming a member of law enforcement.

“During her three months training at the Ontario Police College, she quickly established a reputation of a natural leader. She became known as someone who would put her own tasks on hold to assist others and provide guidance to her peers,” said Det. Todd Chapman, Peel Regional Police (PRP).

Mariani knew she wanted to continue to be part of a team environment, and after her time at the Ontario Police College, she was posted to uniform patrol at PRP’s 12 Division in Mississauga, Ont. where she was offered exactly that.

A dedicated volunteer

In her free time, Mariani volunteers her time in the community, which she says comes from her time in hockey. “I played in a small town where players know most of the fans coming to the games. We would spend time volunteering and genuinely getting to know each person on a first name basis. Naturally, I found myself wanting to continue these kinds of events when I could.” Mariani now volunteers for charitable causes such as Tim Hortons Camp Day, McHappy Day, and the United Way, to name a few.

Her love of hockey still shines through as she continues to volunteer her time to teach young aspiring female athletes. It’s evident that Mariani takes extreme pride, not only in developing the athletes’ skills, but also their self-confidence. This journey started three years ago, and it has resulted in numerous parents commending her for her passion and ability to encourage and inspire the young women.

Mariani believes that volunteering in her personal time and while representing Peel Regional Police is a way to bridge the gap between the public and the service. “We want to show the community that our presence is genuine and positive.”

“Constable Kelly Mariani exemplifies the best qualities that we expect of police officers in these ever changing and complex times for law enforcement. She’s a team player who strives to excel in both her policing career and her personal development. Her involvement with the community, her professionalism and her strong sense of ethics and integrity are a model for others,” said Peter German.

Shadowing at the Criminal Investigation Bureau

Mariani developed quickly as a road officer and began to take on cases traditionally investigated by officers with more experience. Her level of competence and worth ethic lead to a job shadowing period within the Criminal Investigation Bureau/Detective Office.

During her time in this position, she involved herself in investigations that were multifaceted with a lot of moving parts. Some of these cases were high profile and directly affected the safety of the community. She played a significant role in a firearms-related investigation, which resulted in apprehending two armed males who were at large. With her assistance, the officers at PRP were able to connect these same two males to an unsolved high-end jewelry store heist that had occurred the previous day in Toronto. The Toronto police were then able to lay the additional charges on these otherwise unknown male culprits. “I was able to observe the detectives conduct interviews with witnesses, victims and accused, and further watch them conduct briefings. I was also given the opportunity to write multiple search warrants and production orders, as well as act as an Exhibits Officer.”

After her time shadowing the detectives, Mariani is motivated to get back to working in the Criminal Investigation Bureau in the future. As for a specific area, she is still open to all avenues as she continues to attend various types of calls and is exposed to the types of investigations that are required for each.

“From the beginning, Kelly was observed to have a genuine connection in dealing with the public.” – Det. Todd Chapman

Success in the difficult cases

Her time in the Criminal Investigation Bureau/Detective Office is not the only time when Mariani has faced complex cases. Mariani has also investigated two serious sexual assaults while on the job. Early in each case, she recognized the need to build a rapport and further gain the trust of the victims. “In both situations, myself and my partner on each call took our time building rapport with the young females to the point where they eventually confided in us and provided details they initially did not appear to want to disclose. I stayed with the victim in both instances and took them to our Special Victims Unit.” Not only were the culprits identified and apprehended by the Special Victims Unit, but due to Mariani’s professionalism and interpersonal skills, the two victims were able to achieve closure on this life altering event. “These victims expressed a feeling of relief of speaking about the incident. This gave me a feeling of ease, knowing these women had confided in us and we were able to make a difference.”

At a different time, while in uniform, Mariani received an emergency call for service where two parties were observed to be removing auto parts from new vehicles in an auto plaza. Once on the scene, Mariani quickly utilized the attending officers to set up a perimeter and remained calm while communicating important details. Mariani’s excellent teamwork and effective communication lead to two males being located and apprehended within the perimeter. She also identified 21 vehicles that had their catalytic convertors cut off—an estimated $100,000 worth of damage. This is a current, ongoing crime trend as there is a supply shortage of new cars and catalytic converters.

In another instance, Mariani responded to an in-progress jewelry story heist involving a firearm, where a victim had been shot. Mariani assisted the victim and ensured they received the proper first aid. She conducted a thorough canvass of the area, identified potential witnesses and video surveillance, both of which proved crucial to the investigation. As a result, the gunman was identified and subsequently arrested. During this case, Mariani demonstrated dedication and selfless commitment to this violent event that struck fear within the community.

A deserving rookie

Constable Mariani is the whole package, said Armand La Barge. “She’s a volunteer, mature, leader, role model, professional. Her commitment and performance are well beyond what one would expect from someone who only has a year and a half on the job. Mariani has demonstrated a high level of commitment to the profession of policing and to helping building bridges between our profession and the communities we serve.”

Every day is a new learning opportunity for Mariani. One of the most important things she’s learned so far is to rely on the people on her shift, both in terms of officer safety and learning from their experiences. “I found myself in various situations over the past year and a half were I needed to rely on my peers. I am very thankful my shift has many senior officers who are knowledgeable and willing to share with me.”

Back in April, Mariani learned that she was the winner of this year’s Blue Line Rookie of the Year Award. She was very humbled and appreciative that she had been considered for the award. “I am thankful for the coaches that I had the opportunity to learn from and be taught by, as well as the neighbourhood community officers within our shift who have encouraged me during my time on the road so far. They have all helped me grow into my role as a uniform officer.”

Due to Mariani’s leadership skills and her incredible efforts, Blue Line’s Rookie of the Year award is not the first to be presented to her. She has already been the recipient of two Chief Management Group (CMG) awards, with a likely third award on its way.

A thank you to all rookies

Over the past two years during the global pandemic, rookies have gone above and beyond in their roles as police officers. They started their careers in a tumultuous time, and still show up day after day ready to serve their communities.

“The applications this year were somewhat different from previous years – for the most part, these candidates showed a commitment to ‘putting themselves out there’; their organizations underscoring that police officers are still willing to do what many people won’t: risk their lives to save others and make life a bit better for many because of their caring approaches,” said Christine Silverberg. “In short, this year’s award candidates reflect a strong commitment to serve and lead, demonstrate that they truly are part of the communities in which they serve, and are not only ‘enforcers’ distanced from both their communities and other parts of their police organizations. They seem to have a broader understanding of ‘system’ – and in the middle of the COVID crisis deserve huge amounts of credit.”

This year, along with recognizing our contest winner, Cst. Kelly Mariani, Blue Line sends out a thank you to all rookies for the work they have done and continue to do on a daily basis. Other honourable mentions from this year’s pool of nominees include (in no particular order): Cst. Lindsey Brazill (Durham Regional Police Service), Cst. Adam Molnar (Niagara Regional Police Service), Cst. Ivan Yeung (Toronto Police Service), Cst. Maggie Poulin (Timmins Police Service), Cst. Brendon Frick (Vancouver Police Department), Cst. Nicholas Buczkowski (Timmins Police Service), and Cst. Thomas Corcoran (Toronto Police Service).

Be sure to look for the next nomination period of the Blue Line Rookie of the Year Award in early 2023.


THANK YOU TO THE 2022 PANEL OF JUDGES

Christine Silverberg served as Chief of the Calgary Police Service from 1995 to 2000. Christine then became a lawyer, representing diverse clients in civil, administrative and high conflict family law. Throughout her careers in policing and law, Christine has received multiple awards, honours and distinctions. Christine holds a B.A., M.A., and LL.B., holds numerous certifications and is a Qualified Arbitrator. In 2021, Christine was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) in honour of her outstanding contributions.

Armand La Barge is the retired Chief of Police of York Regional Police in Ontario. He began his career there in 1973 and retired in December 2010 after serving as chief for his final eight years. La Barge is the past president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) and the Ontario director of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP). He is also a Governor Emeritus and Immediate Past Chair of the Trent University Board of Governors.

Peter German is a former deputy commissioner with both the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Correctional Service Canada. He currently practices law, is a consultant on criminal justice and leadership matters, and is president of the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform at the University of British Columbia.


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