Thessalon Constable Awarded Medal

(Pictured L to R) OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell and OPP Constable Jeff Lobsinger.
(Pictured L to R) OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell and OPP Constable Jeff Lobsinger.
photo by Rick Chard

 Thessalon OPP Constable Jeff Lobsinger was among 5 officers who received Ontario's top honour for bravery at a presentation ceremony in Toronto on Tuesday night.

The Ontario Medal for Police Bravery is the province's highest honour, recognizing police officers whose actions demonstrate outstanding courage.

A media release from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services describes the emergency situation to which Constable Lobsinger bravely responded.

"In early spring 2017, three men had gone ice-fishing on Gordon Lake, using two snowmobiles. As they neared the shoreline, the lead snowmobile with a lone driver broke through the ice, plunging the vehicle and the man into freezing water. The two on the second snowmobile tried to help their friend, but were unsuccessful because they too kept breaking through the thinning ice.

Provincial Constable Jeffrey Lobsinger and another officer arrived on the scene. Provincial Constable Lobsinger put on a floater's suit and went out to where the submerged man was struggling to get back onto the ice, but the ice gave way as he approached. A floater suit does not have the same insulation as an ice rescue suit, and will take in water. The provincial constable managed to pull himself back onto the ice and rolled back towards the shore where he gathered tree branches to attempt another rescue.

Despite the extremely hazardous conditions the officer inched ever closer to the victim, breaking through the ice several more times. He was finally forced to abandon his attempts after reaching exhaustion and with ice vanishing from underneath him. He kept shouting words of encouragement to the man from the shore as they all waited for emergency support vheicles.

The victim was rescued from the water with the assistance of a United States Coast Guard helicopter and Sault Ste. Marie Fire Department's air boat, but would later succumb to the effects of hypothermia after being submerged in icy water for two hours.

Despite the tragic outcome, Provincial Constable Jeffrey Lobsinger knowingly placed his own life in grave danger in multiple attempts to make the rescue." 

Sergeant Mike Boibin from the Blind River detachment, says, "We are extremely proud of Jeff's actions on that day and he is very deserving of this honourable award."

Constable Lobsinger has been with the OPP since 2002 and at the Thessalon Detachment since 2008. He is a member of the OPP Emergency Response Team (ERT), along with a few officers from the Blind River and Elliot Lake Detachments. These officers have specialized training and are provincially responsible for search and rescue, containment at barricaded or hostage taking incidents, public order at protests or riots, assisting during natural disasters, or any other situation the Regional Commander deems requiring their expertise.