A Penticton bylaw enforcement officer and local resident have both received bravery awards from the Royal Canadian Humane Association after intervening in an assault that took place in summer 2019.
Bylaw officer Glenn Smith was on bike patrol when he came across “a commotion” near a downtown park. Smith stopped and intervened in what he would later find out had been an alleged sexual assault.
At the time of Smith’s arrival, Penticton resident Zak Laycock was in an altercation with the suspect on the sidewalk. “One person was being held and one person was holding him, trying to restrain him,” Smith said. “It was quite violent.”
According to Smith, Laycock ran to intervene when he heard cries for help.
Smith was able to help Laycock restrain the suspect before handcuffing him on the sidewalk and calling for assistance from bylaw and RCMP reinforcements.
Shortly after, additional RCMP and bylaw officers arrived, the man was arrested and taken into custody. After the suspect was arrested, Smith was informed that a sexual assault had taken place in the park washroom.
“In my mind the person who did the most was Zak,” Laycock said. “He chased the person from the washroom in the park and tackled him.”
Both Smith and Laycock have now received the Governor General Award from the Royal Canadian Humane Association. The award serves to “recognize such deeds of heroism, by Canadians in civilian life, who, through their alertness, skill and concern, save or attempt to save a life, especially where those actions lie outside the ordinary duties of the person involved.”
To Smith, he was simply in the right place at the right time.
Smith said “he was totally caught off guard” when he learned of his nomination for the award. “To me it was just another day on the job,” he said. “As a bylaw officer you come across unusual situations all the time… I did what had to be done.
“In my mind I was doing my job. I was glad to be able to help out and apprehend the subject and hand him over to the police.”