York Regional Police (YRP) 2021
Deputy Chief André Crawford (retired 2020) was born and raised in Jamaica and immigrated to Canada with his family in 1972. Beginning in 1986, he enjoyed an amazing and fulfilling thirty-four-year career with the York Regional Police (YRP), the last seven in the executive role of Deputy Chief.
During his tenure with York Regional Police, his assignments included uniform patrol duties, criminal investigations, intelligence, sexual assaults, crimes against children, homicide/missing persons, training and education, and community services. Deputy Chief Crawford was responsible for building partnerships and engaging citizens through innovative outreach programs, crime prevention initiatives, and volunteer opportunities.
Deputy Crawford is the recipient of two Police Exemplary Service medals, a Chief of Police Award for investigative excellence, a gold medal from the Human Rights and Race Relations Centre, the BBPA Harry Jerome Social Engagement Award, and the Order of Merit of the Police Forces from the Governor General of Canada.
Many years ago, in the middle of his career, André was working in the Sexual Assault Bureau and assigned to a case where a young woman who was jogging through the Rogers Reservoir Conservation Area in Newmarket was raped by an unknown assailant. When the case was solved, he met with the victim to let her know that YRP had arrested her attacker. André said that the expression in her eyes has affected him ever since. The look of relief and gratitude was palpable—so indicative of the eyes being the window to the soul. In that moment André Crawford gave her back her dignity, freedom from fear, and the means to carry on with her life.
As a result of this experience, the philosophy and ultimate focus that drove him the remainder of his career was that victims must always be the most important part of the work in law enforcement. All too frequently, either the police or the criminals get the main attention of the media and the justice system—and the victims are often forgotten, albeit unintentionally. Given this unfortunate scenario, André Crawford felt more compelled to advocate on behalf of the victims, for the assistance they required to help them heal and achieve some closure so they could move forward with their lives.
To make a positive difference in someone’s life is a huge reward for André Crawford.
Rogers Reservoir, the location where André’s Portraits of Giving photograph was taken, is extremely poignant as his giving back began many years ago, and quite significantly in that precious moment with that young woman. This memory continues to be as vivid now as it was then; it has guided his career, and he will remember it forever.