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Mounties honour bravery, dedication

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The caller to 911 was very distraught – he had left his two-year-old daughter in her car seat while he ran into a store to buy something.

When he returned, his car – and daughter – were missing.

Surrey RCMP issued an Amber Alert, asking media outlets to broadcast descriptions of the vehicle and the toddler believed to still be inside.

The detachment’s radio room coordinated the search for the car, pulling in officers from other districts to help because time was of the essence – they needed to find the girl before she was harmed.

Mounties caught a break when the father realized he’d left his cell phone in the car. Police called the cell phone company, and using the phone’s GPS capability, were able to begin tracking the car.

In the meantime, officers continued patrolling the streets. That’s when Const. Colin Blake decided to act on a hunch, and expanded his search area beyond the main streets, believing the suspect may have tried to avoid police by sticking to quieter side roads.

And that’s when he spotted the car – the motor was running and the missing child asleep inside and unharmed.

On Saturday, Const. Blake and the RCMP dispatchers working on Oct. 27, 2007, will be recognized for outstanding service at the Surrey RCMP’s Third Annual Officer in Charge Awards at the Surrey Bell Performing Arts Centre.

Twenty-six awards will be presented to more than 60 individuals and groups in recognition of their brave actions, dedication to duty or commitment to the community.

The honourees include police officers, City of Surrey staff, community groups, business partners and private citizens.

Also among those being recognized are Cpl. Chris Riffle, Const. Kevin Morris and Const. Devon Lafreniere. The three were dispatched to the Port Mann Bridge on July 10, 2007 after a suicidal man made his way onto the bridge.

By the time Riffle arrived, traffic was backed up, so he enlisted the help of a motorcyclist to drive him around the stopped vehicles.

The two other officers were trying to calm the man down and apprehend him before he could reach an area of the bridge that would allow him to jump over the railing into the Fraser River below.

The three eventually cornered and subdued the man.

The ceremony, which is open to the public, starts at 1 p.m.. The Bell Performing Arts Centre is located at 6250 144 Street.

dweir@surreyleader.com

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