Sergeant Brendan Johnston accepts honour for Police Services Hero nomination

By Roderick Benns

The Police Services Hero of the Year Awards were presented today in Lindsay. Photo: Sienna Frost.

When she nominated Sergeant Brendan Johnston as her police hero, Erin Broderick wrote an emotional nomination. Her husband, Constable Mike Broderick, died by suicide on Nov. 5 last year.

“It hit all of us really hard including myself, our family, our community and the Kawartha Lakes Police Service family.”

Johnston, she wrote, “has shown me and my family so much support. Phone calls/texts to check up on us, he organized for him and a few other officers to come and put up my outdoor Christmas lights and when I wanted to come see my husband’s ‘Memorial Wall’ that the fellow officers/staff had created.”

Sergeant Brendan Johnston, left, with Mark Baxter, PAO president. Photo: Sienna Frost.

Today, the Police Services Hero of the Year Awards were presented and Johnston of the Kawartha Lakes Police Service was recognized for being named one of two finalists in the category of On-Duty Difference Maker, Uniform Officer in the 2022 PAO Police Hero Awards.

“I’m truly humbled that Erin took the time to nominate me,” said Johnston at what was a clearly emotional event for everyone involved.

“Nov. 5 forever changed the lives of a lot of people. The impact of this loss haunts us. I’m extremely grateful and touched by Erin’s nomination,” he says, although “an award for doing my job just doesn’t feel right.” 

“I would do anything to have been able to prevent  Mike’s loss.” 

In her nomination, Broderick said that Johnston still continues to check on the family. “I honestly don’t know what I would have done without his help and support during all of this, and being mindful that he was really close with my husband, I know this tragic death has affected him as well. He put his own needs aside and helped a family in need. Sergeant Brendan Johnston is my Police Hero.”

Broderick said her husband was a very well-liked man who was respected by all who knew him.

“Much like Sergeant Brendan Johnston, my husband had become very close over the years and confided and looked up to Brendan just like a lot of the other staff of the Kawartha Lakes Police Service. He is that person who everyone seems to go to and for everyone who knows Brendan, he would do anything in his power to help. That is something to say about Brendan’s character.” 

At the event today Johnston said he can’t begin to describe how the job has negatively impacted his health and that of his family’s. “I’ve seen my friends and colleagues struggle, along with me. You can’t understand the depth of trauma until you do this job. Our job doesn’t end when you walk out the door.”

He said that to “admit that we need help is somehow seen as weak. It’s time to end the stigma.” 


  1. Cathy says:

    Brendan deserves this recognition! He is a awesome human being and police officer, I had the privilege of working with him during my 31year career. He was always kind and supportive. Always thinking of my Police family, and hoping you are all doing well.

  2. Joan Abernethy says:

    I wholeheartedly support the nomination for Brendan Johnston to be recognized for his outstanding and unabashed compassion in a field where individuals are required to be tough. He likely doesn’t know he made a difference in my life at a particularly difficult time simply by saying he didn’t think I was crazy. Our society has made acceptable for far too long the targeting of those perceived as weak or alone or persecuted or crazy. Strong compassionate individuals like Johnston, willing to say no to bullying, are real heroes.

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