Medal of Bravery presented to local officer
A local police officer and West Hill resident has been decorated for bravery by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.
Detective Constable Ed Downey and two other members of the Durham Regional Police Tactical Support Unit were among 40 Canadians receiving the Canadian Medal of Bravery on March 6th 2015 at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. The officers were honoured for risking their lives to rescue a mentally unstable man that had climbed to the top of a 50 foot television antenna in an attempt to commit suicide.
On the bitterly cold evening of January 19th 2013, Detective Constables Ed Downey, Keith Lindley and Paul Couvillion attended an address in Oshawa to investigate the report of a man with a gun threatening to kill people.
The officers searched the area and could not locate the man. The subject’s father arrived and told Detective Constable Downey that the suspect had previously climbed the antenna in an attempt to hang himself.
The man was located on the antenna attached to a house and Downey began to negotiate with him. Downey described the man as approximately 30 years old, 300 lbs. and a former martial arts fighter. The man was at the top of the antenna and had tied a scarf around his neck and to the tower. It was clear immediately that the man was going to carry out his threat to hang himself.
Downey and his team mates climbed onto the roof and were 20 feet below the man when he let go and hung himself. The officers climbed the fragile tower and cut the scarf off his neck. The man regained consciousness and immediately engaged Downey, Lindley and Couvillion in a violent struggle. The officers had to hold onto the man and lower him to the roof. Once on the roof the subject continued to fight the officers and at one point tried to pull Downey off the roof. The officers had to use a conducted energy weapon to subdue the man and safely apprehend him. The problem now was how to get the man safely off the roof to the ground. Downey rigged a rescue basket and with the help of firefighters they lowered him to the ground. The man was taken to hospital for psychiatric assessment.
Downey described the ceremony as an incredibly humbling experience to be surrounded by other Canadians that risked their lives for others.
The Medal of Bravery recognizes people who risk their lives and choose to defy their own instinct of survival to try to save a loved one or a perfect stranger whose life is in immediate danger. CCRA offers our congratulations and gratitude to Detective Constable Downey and his fellow officers for their courage and dedication to public service.