Surrey's top cops honoured
The path behind the apartment building on 150 Street near 105 Avenue used to be known as "Dead Man Alley" by local residents who found the run-down walkway a frightening place, especially at night.
Then Surrey RCMP Const. Anthony Muench got involved, organizing the building and painting of fences.
Now the path has been renamed "Friendship Lane."
It's the kind of community policing initiative that has won Muench Officer of the Year as nominated by the community.
He was one of seven people recognized in various categories for their crime-fighting efforts at the 12th annual Surrey Police Officer of the Year awards held Wednesday night at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel.
The awards gala was organized by the Surrey Board of Trade.
Muench, who works in the Guildford District Two Office, was praised for working with local apartment building managers and occupants to help fight crime, for organizing gifts and hampers for the needy, and for helping out with Surrey Food Bank drives in December and July.
Const. Stephanie Rogers won Police Officer of the Year as chosen by her peers at the Surrey detachment.
Rogers has waged a relentless campaign against the "taggers" who deface city and private property since she was assigned to the graffiti unit in 2006.
Under the law, someone has to be caught in the act before they can be charged with mischief for spray-painting walls and fences.
Rogers has managed that tricky feat many times, resulting in criminal charges against various people, including one person described as a top "writer" well-known to police.
The Auxiliary Constable of the Year award, as nominated by fellow volunteer officers, went to Const. Kimberly Enns, who work in South Surrey's District Five.
Last year, officer Enns put in 1,300 hours of volunteer time organizing auxiliary police safety patrols and going out herself on weekend evenings.
Police Volunteer of the Year honours went to Bill Brand, who has spent thousands of hours with the Speed Watch program, going out almost every day to assist with school zone enforcement.
Brand was cited for maintaining the speed check vehicle, changing its oil, washing it faithfully and even taking it through AirCare.
The Police Municipal Employee of the Year award went to Colleen Kerr, the Crime Prevention Coordinator in Newton.
Kerr is credited with reviving the area's Block Watch Program, even working to learn Punjabi to better communicate with the many South Asian seniors who use Bear Creek Park.
The Police and Business Partnership Award went to Erin, an outreach worker with the non-profit OPTIONS society who helps homeless people to find homes. Erin asked that her last name not be published due to the sensitive nature of her work.
And the Arnold Silzer Community Policing Initiative Award went to the Surrey RCMP Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Unit, which investigates all offences where the victim is under the age of 10.