Kelowna RCMP award civilians for stepping in to help

Tokens of appreciation presented to three civilians who came to the assistance of an RCMP officer under attack in Kelowna.

When construction workers David Jake Sharpe, Ronald Polak and Jay Whitesell  jumped into action and saved a Kelowna Mountie from a one man rampage earlier this month, they didn’t think so much as act.

“We were just Johnny on the Spot,” said Polak, at a Friday ceremony where the trio were honoured by RCMP with a  Commendation Recognition Award as well as an RCMP Challenge coin.

They may have simply been in the right spot to lend a hand, but Kelowna’s top cop, Supt. Nick Romanchuk, pointed out that their actions were exceptional given the circumstances.

“Without hesitation (Sharpe, Polak and Whitesell) each took an active role, not only by defending the police officer,” said Romanchuk. “But by upholding the essence of the law itself. It is this quality that has earned them the respect and appreciation of the RCMP this day.”

The 42 year old Chase man who is at the centre of the tale had allegedly attacked several others in the early hours of April 1 before allegedly stealing a vehicle and ramming it into a police officer. As the officer tried to recover from the shock of being hit, the man allegedly tried to attack him further.

Sharpe, was the first to jump into action when he saw what was happening.

“I tackled him,” Sharpe said, noting that he hadn’t done anything of that kind before, but he’d do it again if it was needed.

Sharpe is a first aid attendant and said he felt it was incumbent on him to try and help.

He was never alone, either. Whitesell and Polak were hot on his heels as he left the Ellis Street worksite and they helped restrain the suspect until more police made it to the scene.

They didn’t really think too much about what they did until later that night.

“Not until I got home and a buddy texted me and said, ‘You could have been hurt or killed, what were you thinking?’” Whitesell said.

Sharpe said his son was proud of his effort and took him out to dinner to celebrate him.

All three, however, expressed some discomfort with the fuss being made over them that day.

Between the standing ovation they received from RCMP and civilians alike, and the awards they received, emotions were clearly running high.

Although the RCMP awarded the trio’s bravery they were quick to note that they’d prefer if civilians stayed out of harm’s way.