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A van crashed into a bridge overpass on Ritson Road at Highway 401 in Oshawa. The lone occupant was unconscious inside and the vehicle was on fire. A cab driver was first on scene, frantically trying to open the locked doors to get the driver out. He tried to smash windows to get in–but to no avail. The flames and smoke inside the van began encircling the driver’s body. A thick column of smoke was rising high into the night air. Cst. Phil Blandford arrived on the chilly December morning just before 4 a.m. The two men were able to gain access to the driver and pulled him out as the heat and flames intensified, singeing their hair. The driver’s jacket and pants were on fire, which Cst. Blandford extinguished. The two men pulled the body further away as the fire continued and the van tires began to explode. The driver was transported to hospital with smoke inhalation, significant second-degree burns and a broken femur. The actions of Cst. Blandford and the civilian undoubtedly saved the driver’s life.

You warm up your car in the driveway and go back inside to make coffee. When you come out to drive to work, the vehicle is gone. In a few days, it is sold in Africa. Seven people were arrested and more than $1 million in stolen automobiles recovered after a joint forces investigation, dubbed Project Lakeland, into an auto theft ring operating in Durham Region, York Region and Toronto.

A large fire broke out at the Fairview Lodge senior’s residence on Oct. 27, 2014 in Whitby. A thick plume of smoke was seen rising from one of the main buildings as Whitby Fire and the DRPS rushed to the scene. What unfolded was an emergency response that is widely regarded as exceptional. More than 190 of our most vulnerable citizens were safely and carefully evacuated without a single injury being reported. It has been called a text book evacuation–one of the most successful of its kind in Ontario. About 80 DRPS officers and civilians were involved.

On May 4, 2009, two homicides occurred, setting into motion a chain of events that consumed the past five years for the victims’ families and our police service, as well as our colleagues in the Crown Attorney’s Office.


Harjinder Sandhu and Puneet Chhina were discovered by our officers when they responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle. A project team was assembled in partnership with the RCMP, and the file was identified as a multi-jurisdictional case, with Toronto and the OPP completing the supplemental investigations of one of the key suspects: Vijay Singh.

n 2013, members of Central West Division emerged as leaders in the fight against Human Trafficking – a criminal offence better known as “sex slavery.”


In March 2013, Project Spencer focused on human trafficking occurring at various hotels in Whitby. A Whitby man was convicted of Human Trafficking in connection with two girls, aged 21 and 23. This is believed to be Durham Regional Police’s first Human Trafficking conviction.

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