February 25, 2022.
2021 Service Recognition Awards – Excellence in Emergency Response
Recipients: Constable Jeff Cowie and Constable Kyla Thurston
The next award tonight goes to two front line officers who went above and beyond in the face of a challenging, unpredictable and rapidly unfolding situation.
On May 27, 2021, approximately 12:30 a.m., police were called to a break and enter in progress at a store on Holland Street in Bradford. The caller stated that a suspect was visible on security cameras and provided a description, but said they could no longer see the suspect and were unsure where he went.
Constables Jeff Cowie and Kyla Thurston were dispatched and headed to the scene. As Cowie arrived he observed the suspect running from the scene, first to a parked vehicle that was locked, and then continuing westbound behind the store. Both Cst. Cowie and Thurston took up foot pursuit of the suspect but while running after the suspect, Cst. Cowie fell seriously injuring his shoulder.
Cst. Thurston continued to chase the suspect around a nearby building. Now out of sight of Cst. Cowie, Cst. Thurston caught the suspect and began to order him to the ground in order to effect the arrest.
Cst. Cowie, now injured, found he was unable to lift his right arm, yet despite the injury, was also aware that Cst. Thurston was interacting with the suspect as he could hear yelling from behind the building. Cowie followed his partner’s voice and using his weak side, left hand, drew his Conducted Energy Weapon in order to assist in the arrest. Together the two officers were able to safely effect the arrest without any injury to the suspect, or further injury to the officers.
Cowie ultimately suffered a full separation of his right shoulder and had to be taken by ambulance to hospital.
The suspect was charged with Break and Enter and remained in custody until he pleaded guilty to all charges in July of 2021.
Investigation also determined that the vehicle he ran to during the chase was stolen from Hamilton.
This occurrence highlights so many incredible things about professional police work and the bravery and professionalism of Constables Thurston and Cowie.
Foot pursuits are often among the most dangerous and unpredictable parts of policing but both officers gave chase without hesitation. The injury to Cowie immediately changed the situation, but Thurston proceeded with caution and after locating the suspect maintained control and used tactical communication to gain compliance. Not only did this work in controlling the suspect until help could arrive, but also alerted PC Cowie to her whereabouts.
To his credit, PC Cowie fought through intense, immobilizing pain to go to his partner’s assistance. His ability to think clearly through the pain and adrenaline is “beyond impressive,” their Sergeant wrote in his commendation. Cowie held his composure until the suspect was secured and transported to the station before even acknowledging his injury and requesting an ambulance.
The determination, teamwork and professionalism of Cst. Jeff Cowie and Cst. Kyla Thurston is to be commended.