Kingston Police officer Staff Sergeant Melanie Jefferies has won a Police Services Hero of the Year Award from the Police Association of Ontario (PAO).
Staff Sergeant Jefferies won the 2023 award for her advocacy work and support of victims of sexual and violent crimes.
Specifically, Staff Sergeant Jefferies was cited for her continued support of a victim of Richard Joyce, a serial kidnapper accused of sexual assault and murder in the 1990s.
According to the PAO, the victim first met Staff Sergeant Melanie Jefferies in 2011, when they reported their experience. For 20 years, the victim was committed to keeping her kidnapping a secret, convinced that no one would believe her. “However, her disclosure to Sergeant Melanie Jefferies rerouted her life and recovery and she now puts her pain to purpose, speaking publicly to empower others,” the PAO said.
In 2022, the victim was notified that the perpetrator, Joyce, was seeking escorted passes out of prison. “The victim was concerned and reached out to Sergeant Jefferies, who was incredibly supportive and listened attentively to their concerns,” the PAO stated.
“She went beyond her role by personally calling them to provide advice and support. (Staff Sergeant) Jefferies even offered to attend the parole board hearing, eleven years after she worked diligently to achieve a conviction,” the PAO said in their award statement.
“Throughout the process, (Staff Sergeant) Jefferies made herself available to talk with the victim and provide emotional support whenever it was needed,” the PAO’s award statement continued. “(Staff Sergeant) Jefferies is the epitome of a professional. Her honour, integrity, commitment, and service to victims of crime is rare.”