Windsor police officer credits training for Detroit River rescue

Windsor police Const. Ian Mailloux received the Ontario Medal for Police Bravery for a rescue in the Detroit River. (Source: Windsor Police Service/Twitter)

A member of the Windsor Police Service is giving credit to his training as an officer and as a former Royal Canadian Navy diver for helping to save a woman from the Detroit River.

On Thursday, the Windsor Police Services Board recognized Constable Ian Mailloux, who was awarded the Ontario Medal for Police Bravery during a virtual ceremony this past April.

On Sept. 9, 2020 a woman called 911 around 4:50 a.m. and told dispatchers 'you need to go to the river in the morning and look for a dead body.'

According to the Ministry of the Solicitor General, the call was traced to an area along the Detroit River near Festival Plaza and Mailloux, who was on patrol nearby at the time, responded to the scene within minutes.

A second officer arrived and was able to talk the woman down to safer ground, but as she was waiting for the ambulance, she suddenly jumped into the river.

Mailloux, who spent over 10 years in the Navy as a diver, also jumped into the river in his full police gear along with a life ring and rope.

He was able to save the woman and pull her onto shore.

Mailloux says training is key to give you confidence to do your job every single day.

"Currents are very, very strong and the undertow is very strong in the Detroit River," he says. "I have been in the Detroit River training with the Navy as well, so I was aware of the risks I would be facing."

Mailloux, who's also a member of the Windsor Police Marine Unit, says going into the Detroit River in his full police uniform was new to him.

"I'm used to full diving gear, buoyancy and everything. So it was a new challenge for me but I was confident with my skills and training that I'd be able to overcome those challenges," he says.

Mailloux, who humbly states he was just there to do his job that day, says his family is very proud of his actions.

"Family is my biggest support, they were very proud of me after the fact," he says."My grandma was worried about me after the fact, she couldn't believe what I had done, but they were very proud."

Since 1975, the Ontario Medal for Police Bravery has been awarded 294 times.