Nunavik police officers awarded medal for response to 2019 attack

‘It’s nice to have recognition from the community,’ says Const. Mathieu Verret-Dion

From left: Nunavik Police Service Const. Mathieu Verret-Dion, Sarah Ilisituk and Const. Frederic Grenier, pose for a photo in Salluit in April 2019, after Ilisituk recovered from a March 2019 attack. (Photo courtesy of NPS)

By Sarah Rogers

A pair of Nunavik police officers have been recognized for their efforts saving a Salluit women’s life during a violent 2019 attack.

Quebec’s minister of public security awarded the Meritorious Service Medal this month to Const. Mathieu Verret-Dion of the Nunavik Police Service and to his partner Const. Frederik Grenier, a former Nunavik police officer who now works for the Sûreté du Québec.

Verret-Dion received the service medal at an April 16 ceremony in Kuujjuaq, where he’s now stationed.

“I was really happy,” he said. “It motivates me to continue to do my do my job, as best as I can.”

Verret-Dion took a job with the Nunavik Police Service in 2018. He had been stationed in Salluit for about a year, when, in March 2019, he and his partner received an emergency call from a woman in distress.

She was scared and was shouting, but all Verret-Dion could make out was her name — Sarah — and the number “15.”

The officers rushed out, looking for houses that begin with that number. Verret-Dion recalled arriving at one home where they could hear a woman shouting from inside.

The officers went into the home to find a man wielding a long kitchen knife, and a woman with stab wounds. They tasered the man, arrested him and called first responders to tend to the woman.

Sarah Ilisituk, who agreed to make her story public, was medevaced that night to Montreal where she was treated in hospital for several weeks.

Her attacker, who was her spouse, was later convicted of assault.

“We were happy that we could intervene and get her help,” Verret-Dion said.

He credits the quick response to a good working relationship with his partner, Grenier.

“We didn’t hesitate for a moment,” he said. “We worked well together.”

When Ilisituk had recovered and returned home to Salluit weeks later, Verret-Dion said he ran into her one day in the community.

He said Ilisituk came over to him with her family members, who all shook the officer’s hand and thanked him for his response that night.

“It’s nice to have recognition from the community,” Verret-Dion said.

“They see a lot of officers come and go, so it’s nice for them to have confidence in us.”

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(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by Appreciation presence on

    Thank you to our police officers whose lives are put on the line every single day, protecting us from incidents we cannot deal with ourselves.

    You never know what situation they are put on when they get called to assist.
    There is so much violence, drug addiction, alcohol abuse and much poverty and distress in Nunavik.

  2. Posted by Heroes on

    Finally they get some recognition. Police officers in northern Canada are true unsung heroes.

  3. Posted by Arctic Wolf on

    It is good to see these officers getting the recognition they deserve for this. This story illustrates perfectly the challenges that police face in many Northern communities – called to a situation with almost no information, and they arrive on what is actually a life-or-death scene with no backup. And because of the choices they made, nobody died that day. Ideally, that’s how the system should work.

    Improving police services should always be a goal, and governments should listen to the concerns communities have about how they are being policed. But it is equally important for governments and communities to recognize good work. Fact is, both the victim and the attacker in this situation owe their lives to the way the police responded. Very good job.

  4. Posted by Uvanga on

    So nice to see stories like this. I am happy to see the police officers cared enough to look for the lady despite the little information they had. These two should be an example of anyone who wants to become police officers or even for the long term officers. Great Job! Happy to see awesome community work!

  5. Posted by George Floyd on

    Our Nunavik police are under appreciative. They do a good job. But let’s not lessen the degree of abuse, as it’s systemic in our need to get more Inuit on the force. I believe our police force are racist and many lives lost are due to that. But what’s the solution? Hey we need. Inuit on the force , it’s an unit police force. I’m sure Mexico, has Mexicans on their force. Go to school, learn how to police your community.

    • Posted by Your Point Is What? on

      Yep, Mexico has Mexicans on its force, and this Canadian town has Canadians on its force.

      Now, if you want to talk about indigenous Mexicans serving in the Mexican police services, you will be disappointed. The numbers make Canada look like a shining example of multi-ethnic policing.

      • Posted by That’s a problem there on

        Bravo for those two police. But your comment with reference to this Canadian town tells a lot about how you think about Inuit, Canadians etc. Maybe Mexico, even with its indigenous population feels ok with calling all its citizens Mexicans, I’m don’t know for sure. But let me tell you, that in Nunavik, Inuit see the communities as Inuit communities. It’s under the colonial processes, and outside labels that we are Canadian. Even though, we will embrace the Canadian label without much resistance, but we are Inuit first. It’s not up to you to see Inuit as you are stating in your comment.

  6. Posted by S Sakiagak on

    Way to go Fred and verret!! Don’t stop being the best👌


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