Edmonton, Alberta – Last week, at a private ceremony, the Honorable Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta joined Deputy Commissioner Marianne Ryan, Commanding Officer of “K” Division RCMP in the presentation of awards for bravery, overseas service, outstanding service and long service to RCMP employees.
“Today we recognize those members and employees who have dedicated their entire careers to helping others, “ said Deputy Commissioner Marianne Ryan, Commanding Officer of “K” Division RCMP. “We acknowledge those who have stepped into harm’s way, and sacrificed their own personal safety to help another, and we applaud those who have put the needs of others well before their own.”
Several RCMP members received the Commanding Officer’s Commendation for Bravery, which recognizes courage in the face of dangerous circumstances beyond those commonly encountered in routine police work.
Constable Wayne Leach
On April 7, 2013, Constable Wayne Leach was on patrol with another member in Grande Cache, Alberta when they saw a townhouse on fire. Cst. Leach pulled a man out of one of the townhouse units just before the entire kitchen ceiling collapsed. The officers rescued the remaining people in the units. One adult was handicapped and Cst. Leach carried her out of the burning building. The local fire chief stated that if the officers had not acted in the heroic manner they did, there would have been fatalities. Cst. Leach is currently posted to the Grand Cache Detachment.
Inspector Kevin Kunetzki
On June 1, 2010, a man arrived unannounced at the Calgary Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) office to speak with Sergeant Andrew Johnson. During their discussion, the man pulled a knife on the unarmed Sgt. Johnson, stabbing him several times. Upon hearing the commotion, Sergeant Kevin Kunetzki rushed to the scene. As the first responder, he engaged in a life-threatening struggle to save Sgt. Johnson. The man was subdued and with the assistance of other ASIRT members, the vicious assault ended.
Sgt. Kunetzki remained committed to his duties throughout the ordeal and arrested the man for attempted murder. Sgt. Kunetzki provided medical first aid to Sgt. Johnson and called 911. Inspector Kevin Kuntzki is now the Officer in Charge of the Leduc RCMP detachment.
Constable Stuart Kirkpatrick, Constable Andrew Piitz and Constable Pranchalee Poonyapak
On Sept. 6, 2015, Red Deer RCMP members were dispatched to a complaint of a man acting erratically inside a business with a 5 inch hunting knife. The man attempted to stab Cst. Piitz through his closed driver’s side window before stabbing and damaging other vehicles. The man attempted to stab Cst. Kirkpatrick through his open window. The man then appeared to surrender. Cst. Piitz exited his police car and advised the man that he was under arrest and not to move. Cst. Poonyapak also got out of her car. An attempt was made to handcuff the male when he suddenly got up and charged at the officers.
The officers were able to arrest the male without sustaining injuries to themselves or others in the area. They exemplified courage in this very dangerous situation. Constable Stuart Kirkpatrick, Constable Andrew Piitz and Constable Pranchalee Poonyapak are serving at the Red Deer City Detachment.
Long Service Awards
Long Service Awards marking 20 or more years of service were also distributed to 48 “K” Division RCMP employees whose service collectively total 1,270 years.