FARMINGTON — Franklin County Sheriff Dennis Pike was recently awarded a bronze medal by Quebec Provincial Police “Surete du Quebec” for his service, professionalism and integrity during a ceremony held in Montreal.
“The medal is a distinction awarded to a law enforcement partner who continues to promote the values of the Quebec Provincial Police “Surete du Quebec,” Daniel Thibaudeau, spokesperson for the Canadian Provincial Police, said.
Only 12 vigilance and loyalty medals were awarded, eight to Quebec police and the other four to non-agency members, including the one for Pike.
Franklin County Chief Deputy Ray Meldrum, Lt. Niles Yeaton and Detective Thomas White attended the awards ceremony with Pike.
Pike was given the oak leaf bronze medal for his efforts as a law enforcement officer who gave distinguished service that affected provincial, national or international character or made an impact on the area over many years.
Pike was nominated for the award based on the partnering of the local police with the Quebec Provincial Police in coverage of the border crossing and adding value to border-crossing operations. He was also recognized as an image of distinction in cooperation between the two law enforcement agencies and for his help in developing an exchange program with patrol officers, detectives and specialists with the Maine police.
The Canadian police recognized Pike’s nearly 50 years of service to the community, his work as sheriff of Franklin County and for being an important member of a border police committee of administration.
“It was an extremely nice gesture and a prelude to an effort between Canada and the United States — a pilot project that could expand to counties and states across the entire northern border,” Pike said of the award.
While in Montreal the two police departments signed an agreement for the 18-month pilot project that includes an officer exchange. A few Quebec Provincial Police will visit the Franklin County Sherrif’s Department, while local police will visit the Canadian police to see what the other department does well and to learn from each other.
A traffic safety operation involving the two departments and others was held following the launch of “Traffic Safety Without Borders,” an initiative between the Quebec police and departments in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York to make highways safer for everyone. A similar traffic operation is planned for later this summer.
The Sheriff’s Department has worked with the Quebec police on many things, including intelligence and other exchanges, Pike said. Professional relationships and friendships have developed during the work.
Officials from the northern department came to Farmington to begin this new police interaction project and met the County Commissioners in September 2010, Pike said. Since then the project has been discussed and evaluated, culminating in a preliminary agreement being formalized by the signing, he said.
The Franklin County officers will visit the enlarged, renovated Lac Megantic police station on Tuesday, May 17, for an open house. Pike has plans for a flag exchange between the departments.