OPP officer saluted

Duane Hicks

A campaign to collect 1,000 life jackets to help halt drownings in the region’s First Nation communities has received high recognition from Canada’s governor general.
Sgt. Marty Singleton of the OPP Aboriginal Policing Bureau was invested into the Order of Merit of the Police Forces by Gov. Gen. David Johnston during a ceremony Sept. 16 at Rideau Hall.
Sgt. Singleton said he was notified mid-summer that OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes had nominated him for the honour.
“I was surprised, humbled, and honoured for the recognition,” he noted.
Sgt. Singleton said one of the best parts of attending the ceremony was being able to bring his son, Talon, and daughter, Marde Jaisea.
“It was nice for them to be a part of the whole experience and share that day with me,” he remarked.
Sgt. Singleton undertook the life jacket campaign last spring in honour of the Clayton (Beef) Windigo Jr. and OPP Cst. Bob Mainville, both of whom died in water-related accidents on the same week in the summer of 2010.
And he said the campaign has gone “exceptionally well.”
Last year, Sgt. Singleton was able to collect about 900 life jackets, with another 400 donated so far this year.
“It’s been very successful, very well-received, especially when I’ve taken the life jackets up north to our area First Nations’ communities,” he remarked.
Sgt. Singleton noted he’s received support from all across Northwestern Ontario—whether from businesses, residents, or fellow police officers.
“I appreciate the support I’ve gotten from my colleagues. I appreciate the support I’ve gotten from my superiors,” he said, noting they’ve been “in my corner the whole time.”
“I’ve also been very fortunate to work with our First Nations’ communities across the region,” he added.
“I’m lucky to have the people I work with.”
Meanwhile, Sgt. Singleton pledged the campaign will continue as long as he can keep balancing it with his other work priorities.
He said it’s important to him to take that extra effort and be proactive “if it helps saves lives.”
“I’ve given approximately 1,300 life jackets away. That’s more than was there before,” he reasoned.
“If one of these jackets helps them in a crisis situation, the whole effort has paid for itself.”
Sgt. Singleton hails from the Eagle Lake First Nation near Dryden. He became a police officer in 1999, serving initially as a constable with the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service in Pickle Lake.
He began with the OPP in October, 2000, serving first in Ignace and later transferring to Dryden.
He then was promoted to the Aboriginal Policing Bureau in 2008, which means he works across the entire Northwest Region and, at times, still works here in Rainy River District.
Sgt. Singleton has been honoured in the past. In 2014, he received the annual Police Leadership Award from “Blue Line,” Canada’s law enforcement trade magazine.
At that time, he was recognized for using his leadership skills as a role model for others, particularly in terms of conflict resolution and working with youth.
The Order of Merit of the Police Forces honours a career of exceptional service or distinctive merit displayed by the men and women of Canadian police forces, and recognizes their commitment to Canada.
The primary focus is on exceptional merit, contributions to policing, and community development.
The commissioner of the RCMP, the Principal Commander of the Order, submits recommendations for appointment to the governor general on behalf of an advisory committee.
Nominations for appointment to the Order may be made by submitting the name of a member or employee of a police force to their respective commanding officer.
The Order was created in 2000 to recognize conspicuous merit and exceptional service by members and employees of Canadian police forces whose contributions extend beyond protection of the community.
Three levels of membership with post-nominal letters reflect long-term, outstanding service: Commander (C.O.M.), Officer (O.O.M.), and Member (M.O.M.)
Sgt. Singleton received the M.O.M. designation, which recognizes exceptional service or performance of duty over an extended period, usually at the local or regional/provincial level.