Blue Line

Eighth Annual Police Hero of the Year Awards program winners and finalists announced

June 2, 2023  By Police Association of Ontario

June 2, 2023, Aurora, Ont. – The Police Association of Ontario has announced the winners of the 8th annual Police Services Hero of the Year Awards. This comes after encouraging the public to submit nominations to recognize the work of outstanding police personnel who have gone beyond their call of duty to protect and serve their communities.

James Durka, Hamilton Police Service: 2023 Community Role Model (A police officer or civilian police service employee who has made a difference in their community while off-duty). James served as the primary caretaker for his wife, Jessica, upon her cancer diagnosis. When her cancer was in remission, the Durka family gave back by growing pumpkins for the community. Over the past few years, the Durkas have raised $245,000 for the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton.

Glen Sonier, Greater Sudbury Police Service: 2023 On-Duty Difference Maker – Civilian Police Service Employee (A civilian police service employee who has gone above and beyond the expectations of the job while on-duty). Glen is a great supporter of Movember, raising funds for prostate cancer. Overall, Glen’s colleagues appreciate how he supports the community with care and a great sense of humor.

Anonymous Police Hero in Ontario: 2023 On-Duty Difference Maker – Uniform Officer (An officer who has gone above and beyond the expectations of the job while on-duty). This hero’s quick thinking on the job protected community members from harm.


Melanie Jefferies, Kingston Police Service: 2023 Police Hero Honour Roll Award (Pays homage to a police officer or civilian police service employee who has made a significant impact over the past decade). Melanie assisted a victim of kidnapping and sexual assault. She went beyond her role by personally calling the victim to provide advice and support. Melanie also offered to attend the parole board hearing, eleven years after she worked diligently to achieve a conviction.

Kyle Dodds, Belleville Police Service: 2023 Extra Mile Award (A uniform or civilian police service employee who has done a one-time, extraordinary act of kindness or bravery while off the job). Kyle goes above and beyond to support his community and is committed to tackling human and sex trafficking in his community, including regularly conducting safety checks in local hotels. He understands the role that a police officer can play when assisting individuals with mental health issues and works to ensure their safety in times of crisis and that they receive the help they require.

The Police Association of Ontario’s Awards Committee (comprised of members-at-large, the President, the Board Chair, and civilian association staff) had the challenging task of selecting the winners from over 240 heartfelt nominations. The volume of incredible stories that outlined the efforts of police personnel in communities throughout the province cannot be understated.

The Police Association of Ontario would also like to congratulate this year’s award finalists.

The winners were honored during the Police Association of Ontario’s Annual General Meeting which was attended by representatives from 45 local police associations across the province.

Additionally, a media tour will occur over the next few months to present the awards to winners and finalists in person alongside their colleagues, friends, family, and community members.

“The Police Services Hero of the Year Awards provide an important opportunity to show our brave members how much we appreciate their contributions to protecting Ontario’s families and communities. We were so impressed with the courageous stories we saw in our submissions this year. Every single one of our members is a hero in my eyes, and we are proud to recognize the amazing achievements of our sworn and civilian police personnel today and every day,” said Mark Baxter, President of the Police Association of Ontario.

Members of the public are encouraged to view the stories of the 2023 Police Services Hero of the Year Award winners and finalists on

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