Canadian Rangers awarded by Ontario Provincial Police for contributions to search and rescue

Ontario Provincial Police Superintendent Brent Anderson, left, presents an award to Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Richardson
Ontario Provincial Police Superintendent Brent Anderson, left, presents an award to Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Richardson. Photo: Captain Karl Haupt

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By Sergeant Peter Moon, 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group

In October, the Canadian Rangers of Northern Ontario received an award from the commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), recognizing their value in search and rescue operations.

“I wish to express my gratitude for the professional and outstanding work being done by the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group in Ontario,” Commissioner Vince Hawkes noted in the citation for the award.

OPP Superintendent Brent Anderson presented the award on behalf of Commissioner Hawkes to Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Richardson, 3 CRPG Commander, at a ceremony at the 4th Canadian Division Training Centre at Meaford, Ontario, in front of a graduating class of Rangers and invited guests.

“It shows the strength of the partnership between the Rangers and the OPP,” said LCol Richardson. “It helps us to save lives and the Rangers are proud of the fact that, as a result of their local knowledge and their training with the OPP and the army, they are able to go out and find missing people and save lives,” he added.

The award citation said members of the OPP’s elite Emergency Response Teams “take pride in sharing their skills (with the Rangers) by facilitating Basic Searcher and Search Manager training for 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol group members. The Rangers are well-equipped to respond, and possess crucial, dependable local knowledge that is regularly relied upon in order to successfully locate and render aid to lost/missing persons.”

The search and rescue training the Rangers receive from the OPP is essentially the same training provided to the members of the OPP’s Emergency Response Teams.

The Rangers have a unique relationship with the OPP. They are the only Rangers in Canada who receive police training in search and rescue, and have a formal agreement to do search and rescue on behalf of the police. The OPP is the lead agency for search and rescue in Ontario, a role assumed by the Quebec provincial police in Quebec, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in the rest of Canada.

While the OPP has prime responsibility for search and rescue in Ontario, assembling a trained OPP search and rescue team and getting a plane to fly them into a remote First Nation may take up to eight hours or longer, depending on the weather. By then, the Rangers have usually found the missing person or persons.

“You can’t put a dollar figure on the value of the OPP training. The OPP gives us the time of their officers and the benefits of their specialist training. And the Rangers save lives every year. It is a tremendous partnership,” noted LCol Richardson.

Image gallery

  • Ontario Provincial Police Superintendent Brent Anderson, left, presents an award to Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Richardson
  • Master Corporal Shaun Kakegamic of Muskrat Dam take notes as OPP training officers give directions during a search and rescue exercise
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