Police & the Community


Constable Sarah Bamford and Sergeant Peter Leon Honoured with the Catherine Martin Award of Excellence in Media Relations

Constable  Sarah  Bamford and  Sergeant  Peter  Leon  Honoured with the Catherine  Martin  Award  of  Excellence  in  Media  Relations
June 13th, 2018 - Police & the Community

(Toronto, ON) – Ontario’s police leaders are proud to announce that Constable  Sarah  Bamford of the Barrie Police Service and Sergeant Peter  Leon  of the Ontario Provincial Police are this year’s recipients of the Catherine  Martin  Award  of  Excellence  in  Media  Relations. The awards were presented at the OACP’s 2018 Annual Meeting on June 12th in Huntsville, ON.

This Award recognizes a sworn or civilian member (or team) who has demonstrated consistent dedication and professionalism in the strategic use of media and/or social media – either individually or as part of a campaign – to educate and showcase the profession of policing in the community, supporting public safety or advancing investigations in the Province of Ontario. 

Constable Bamford and Sergeant Leon are being honoured for their work on the Simcoe County Case Files. Influenced  by  a  concept  developed  by  West  Yorkshire  Police  in  England,  Simcoe  County  Case  Files  was  launched  in  May,  2017.  This  initiative  utilizes  social  media platforms,  video  vignettes,  and  cube  vans  adorned  with  large posters  to  assist  local  police  in  solving  historical,  cold  case  files. 

The initiative was  launched  by  profiling  the  death  and/or  disappearance  of  five  people between  1991  and  2005.  With  the  approval  of  the  affected  family  members,  Constable  Bamford  and  Sergeant Leon  co-hosted  and  narrated  video  vignettes,  meticulously  presenting the  facts of  each  case.  These  videos  have  been  posted  on  all  major  social  media  platforms,  including YouTube,  Twitter,  Facebook  and  Instagram. The goal  behind  using  social  media  was  not  only  to reach  a  large  audience,  but  also to encourage people  who  may  have information  involving these cases to feel  more  confident  in  coming  forward  on-line as opposed to more  traditional  reporting  methods.

To  date,  the  video  vignettes  have  been  viewed  more than  205,000  around the world.  Investigators have received new leads and tips pertaining to the cases. In  April  2018,  more than  26  years  after  two individuals were reported  missing, two  people  were  charged  in  connection  with  the  murder  of  those  individuals  profiled. The  solving  of  the  cold  case  files  has  been  credited  to  the  efforts  of  Simcoe  County  Case  Files.

Innovative use of traditional media, social media, and other forms of communications to solve crimes and promote community safety is vitally important today. We are proud to honour Constable Bamford and Sergeant Leon for their tremendous work on this initiative.” said OACP President Chief Bryan Larkin.

These annual awards are made possible by the generous support of McMaster University.

 For more information on all our award winners, please visit the OACP website at www.oacp.ca.