A long-time member of the airforce reserve unit in Lunenburg County received a Chief of Defence Staff Commendation for coming to the aid of a local cop struggling to arrest a boy involved in a domestic assault.
Shawn Stevens, a Warrant Officer with Pine Grove-based 143 Construction Engineering Flight, heard a commotion while working a recruitment display at a Bridgewater agricultural fair. When he investigated further, he noticed a uniformed officer awkwardly positioned on the ground trying to hold down a young suspect.
It was July 25, 2018, and Stevens, dressed in military fatigues, approached an area where he saw a crowd gather and the sound of voices yelling. It wasn't far from the tent where he and his Canadian Armed Forces colleagues set-up a booth and display at the annual South Shore Exhibition. The member working the display with Stevens had stepped away before the yelling started.
Stevens walked up where the crowd was watching two people struggle on the ground. No one was helping.
"The officer was on his back holding the guy down," Stevens, 39, a resident of Clearland, told LighthouseNOW in a telephone interview. "He had a hold of him, but it was one of those situations where it could have went badly."
Danny MacPhee, the Bridgewater Police Service's deputy chief of police, agreed.
"Any physical altercation with a police officer has increased risk due to the weapons at their availability," MacPhee told LighthouseNOW in an email. "By assisting in the control of the violent youth it led to a safe arrest where no injuries were sustained."
The officer witnessed a domestic assault while walking through the exhibition grounds on an unrelated matter. Trouble started as the officer attempted the arrest.
"I asked him if he needed help, and he said, 'yes,'" Stevens, a 19-year military member, said of his brief conversation with the officer.
"I pretty much grabbed the [suspect] by the arms and pushed him to the side, and held him to the ground," added Stevens, who stands 5'9" and weighs 190-lbs.
The extra help was enough for the officer to gain control and get the handcuffs on. More police officers eventually arrived on scene. Stevens said the suspect "was strong."
"We appreciate our relationship with members of the Canadian military, and appreciated Mr. Stevens quick actions in coming to our officers aid," MacPhee said in the email.
"I actually got back up and went back to the recruiting booth," said Stevens, who held the rank of sergeant at the time.
Police officers later stopped-by to get a statement and thank him.
Stevens notified his superiors of the matter, and from there news of his intervention made its way up the chain-of-command, and led to his first Chief of Defence Staff Commendation, presented to him in December.
"I didn't do it to be noticed or anything like that; that's just the kind of person I am," he said.
"I was honoured, for sure. I didn't expect anything from it. I would have done it in-or-out of uniform."
Stevens received a pin of three gold maple leafs for his dress uniform, along with documentation signed by General Jonathan Vance.
Meanwhile, the youth involved in the fracas was charged in relation to the incident, and sentenced to a year of supervised release.