Conestoga news

May 9, 2024 9:32 AM

Police Foundations students recognized with awards including two honouring Conestoga grads

Outstanding students in the Police Foundations program were recognized with industry and fitness awards, including awards established in memory of Conestoga graduates killed in the line of duty.

Police Foundations awards.jpg
Outstanding students in the Police Foundations program were recognized with industry and fitness awards, including awards established in memory of Conestoga graduates killed in the line of duty..

Four students won sponsored awards and four won fitness awards for 2024, handed out at the end of the year awards reception held for the program in April at the Kitchener - Doon campus.

* Graduating student Leah Oakes received the Sergeant Margaret J. Eve Memorial Award, given to a female student who demonstrates academic excellence, leadership abilities, peer-mentoring skills, community involvement and a high level of fitness.

The award was created in memory of Eve, a Conestoga graduate and Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer, who was the first female officer killed in the line of duty in Ontario when a tractor-trailer hit her cruiser during a traffic stop in 2000. The $500 award is sponsored by the Ontario Provincial Police Association.

“Leah followed a different pathway to our program and eventual career in policing. Leah’s drive and discipline is evident in her ability to balance school, work and being a mother of three. Her passion for community involvement and public service has been honed from years of volunteering. Leah also represented the program as the second-year student representative on the program advisory committee,” said Craig A. Stephenson, professor and program co-ordinator.

* Elijah Watson-Van Neste received the Chief Harold Basse Education Award, which recognizes excellent academic performance, leadership, being a team player, contributing to the program’s success by helping others, a positive attitude, and active participation in class discussions and activities.

Basse’s legacy was one of a quiet, hardworking chief who brought the local police department into the modern era with computers and the new regional headquarters on Maple Grove Road. He introduced the concept of "community-based policing" and recruited more women and minorities. The award includes a prize of $300.

“Elijah has been a positive presence in his entire career at Conestoga. Whether volunteering at open houses for future students, coaching current students as a volunteer with the Ontario College Athletic Association or participating as an English conversation partner for an international student, Elijah has already begun to live a life of public service,” Stephenson said.

* Selena Westlake received the Constable Jennifer Kovach Memorial Award, which recognizes a female student who demonstrates academic excellence, leadership, a passion for policing, community involvement and a high level of fitness.

Guelph Constable Jennifer Kovach, 26, was killed in the line of duty in 2013 while responding to a call for assistance by another officer. Friends and colleagues established the award for a female student graduating from the Police Foundations program from which Kovach graduated in 2007. The award now supported by the Guelph Police Association includes a prize of $400.

“Selena commitment to the Police Foundations program is best exemplified in her role as a second-year student representative at the college’s open houses and career fairs over the past year. Her understanding of and appreciation of the program was infectious. This passion was more widely recognized through being a candidate for the Ontario Provincial Police’s Women in Policing Recruitment initiative,” Stephenson said.

* Joshua Stephens received the Waterloo Regional Police Service Scholarship, given to a second-year Police Foundations student in good academic standing. The scholarship is an award of money, certificate and a keepsake. The presentation will be made at police headquarters, at a meeting of the police services board.

“Josh came to our program with a strong desire to serve the public. After initially considering a career in teaching, Josh decided he could better help his community through policing. His leadership in class was obvious from the beginning, whether unofficially in class activities or when he took it upon himself to organize a running club to help other students meet their cardiovascular fitness goals,” Stephenson said.

* Steven Griffins and Joshua Stephens were recognized with a Leadership Award - Fitness. This award is presented to the students who best demonstrate solid communication and co-operation skills with their colleagues and professors. They must show respect and punctuality during class and constant support for their classmates both online and in person. They come to class with anticipation for the activities presented to them and complete the activities to their full capacity.

* Mankaran Dhillon and Selena Westlake were recognized with a Sportsmanship Award - Fitness. This award is presented to the students who show strong leadership abilities. They grasped the guidelines during class and proceeded to demonstrate them throughout the term. They regularly presented themselves with a positive mindset among their classmates and superiors. They let none of their limitations slow them down and pushed to be an example among their colleagues.

Conestoga's Police Foundations program is a two-year integrated learning experience that helps students develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values of a preferred candidate in public-sector law enforcement. The program focuses on understanding justice through a lens of social equity and modern policing and has been designed to provide an overall base for a variety of careers in criminal justice and public safety through a combination of theory and simulation-based experiences.

Conestoga’s School of Community Services is a leader in translating students’ passions for working with people and making a difference in community into successful careers in human services and community safety.