Blue Line

Top Cops on the Rock

June 11, 2013  By

1043 words – MR dooley-aug.jpg, dooley2-aug.jpg

Top cops on the Rock

by Danette Dooley

RCMP Cpl. Rick Mills and RNC Const. Robert Hull have been named Crimestoppers’ 2012 Police Officers of the Year for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mills has been with the federal police force for two decades and is currently posted to community and aboriginal policing services in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador.

Awards committee chair Claudette Barnes said Mills wears many hats. While his primary duties revolve around crime prevention, community policing and issues related to aboriginal policing, he also acts as a liaison to national and division headquarters, government partners and non-government organizations. Mills is also a trained hostage negotiator and media liaison for the RCMP in Labrador.

As a district recruiter, he attends numerous career fairs and encourages young men and women to join the RCMP and helped organize “Toys for the North for Improvised Children.”

The personal stories of the children who received toys that they would otherwise only dream of were “truly touching,” Barnes said.

Many of Mills’ contributions to his community happen outside working hours. He coaches youth basketball and helps out at local swim meets. “To say that he is an ambassador for the force is truly an understatement,” Barnes said.

Hull has been with the RNC for 25 years and is currently with the criminal investigation division working out of Corner Brook, Newfoundland. A respected police officer, he brings professionalism, dedication and compassion to every posting – both in the St. John’s area and in Corner Brook.

Barnes said Hull continues to receive letters and phone calls from victims thanking him for alleviating their fears and ensuring they were not lost in the justice system as the investigation unfolded.

“Cst. Hull continues to go beyond normal expectations and excels in this area of police work,” Barnes said going on to relate a story about a 16-year-old girl who’d been assaulted on the trails.

As lead investigator, Hull knew that the investigation would be lengthy. He also knew how the assault had affected the young girl and her family and kept them informed about the investigation. In a letter to the local paper witnesses who’d heard the young girl scream for help expressed their feelings of a job well done, especially by the lead investigator.

Hull also helped return a lost boy to his family. While driving him home, he learned the child was in remission from leukemia, that his mom had passed away and that the boy was a huge Toronto Maple Leaf fan but had never been to a hockey game.

Hull took Ricky to a Leafs’ farm team game the next day, followed by a visit to the dressing room where Ricky was presented with an autographed hockey stick.

Hull is also a member of the RNC’s band, which performs regularly at numerous community functions. He also coaches youth hockey in Corner Brook.

“Above all (Cst. Hull) is appreciated for showing citizens that their fears and concerns are legitimate and deserve to be heard and acknowledged,” Barnes said.

{Chance to say thanks}

The awards ceremony is an opportunity to recognize and thank all police officers, said provincial justice minister Darin King.

“For those who are nominated here today, I simply want to say thank-you… all of your colleagues are probably all as good as you in some way or another but there is something in particular that you have done that puts you here… but I want to reach out to the rest of your colleagues and say thank-you to them as well. I’m sure on any given day, you could pick a number of them who could be sitting here where you are today,” King said.

RCMP C/Supt. Andrew Boland said the RCMP is proud of its partnership with Crimestoppers. The organization’s programs align with the force’s strategic priorities, he said, particularly in the area of youth, the elderly and Aboriginal communities.

“Crimestoppers’ initiatives integrate well with RCMP’s efforts to disrupt and dismantle organized crime groups,” Boland said.

There are more than 300 Crimestoppers’ organizations worldwide, including ten branches throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

Boland said volunteers are passionate about raising awareness and hosting fundraising activities in their communities. He also took time to thank the hundreds of police officers who work to make the province a safe place to live.

“Our police officers take immense pride in their profession, often putting themselves in harm’s way for the safety and protection of others,” he said.

Police officers also contribute to their communities outside the office through numerous volunteer activities, Boland said. “These awards today recognize these contributions.”

RNC Chief Robert Johnston said his force has been supporting Crimestoppers since 1992.

Crimestoppers received over 2,200 tips and made 36 arrests as a result of those tips last year alone, he said. Over $70,000 in property was recovered and $40,000 worth of drugs was seized.

Since Crimestoppers came to the province over $6.7 million has been recovered in illegal drugs and property gained through the proceeds of crime, he added. The number of tips continues to increase dramatically, up as much as 60 per cent per month compared to previous years. Johnston credits the increase to an aggressive advertising campaign.

“With approximately 85 Crimestoppers’ volunteers throughout the province, the program continues to be a valuable tool in helping police solve crime.”

Johnston then turned his thoughts to the reason for the event. While only one officer from each force takes home the title, he said, every police officer who has received recognition will say what an honour it is to be nominated for an award.

“Based on my 34 years in policing I can say with confidence that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are being served by dedicated, competent and caring police officers from both the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. The dedication to professionalism and community services displayed by police officers in Newfoundland and Labrador is truly outstanding.”

Danette’s photos
Crimestoppers NL provincial chair Chris Brake presents Cpl. Rick Mills with the 2012 Police Officer of the Year Award
RNC Chief Robert Johnston presents Const. Robert Hull with the 2012 Police Officer of the Year Award. Also in photo Crimestoppers NL provincial chair Chris Brake

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