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May 9, 2002 Constable Joe Cardi to the rescue



Joe Cardi

Joe Cardi in uniform

by Catherine Grace

Life has changed considerably for Joe Cardi, a former Stinger football player and Concordia University Department of Recreation and Athletics employee. Not long ago, his biggest challenge was deciding what to do about the occasional unruly fan at a varsity football game. Now his daily decisions affect lives.

On April 23, Cardi received a commendation for outstanding achievement and in recognition of excellence by the Regional Municipality of Peel Police Service Board. The award was for the events of June 16, 2001, when Const. Cardi, who is now a police officer at 11 Division in Mississauga, Ont., helped rescue a suicidal man.

While his partner talked to the victim who was growing increasingly agitated and threatening to jump off an overpass into traffic on Highway 403, Cardi reached around and grabbed the man under the armpits. He was safely brought to the ground without injury and transported to a local hospital.

“I was just doing what anyone in my situation would’ve done,” said Cardi of his life-saving heroics.

Cardi, 34, left Concordia and his events, promotions and night-time security job in December 2000 when he was accepted by the Peel Regional Police. He spent 12 weeks at the Ontario Police College in Alymer, Ont., and another six weeks training with the Peel police. On April 28, 2001, he became Const. Cardi and began patrolling the streets of Mississauga.

The LaSalle, Que., native was immediately in the thick of things, chasing suspected car thieves on his first night on the job. On a daily basis, he deals with domestic assaults, general assaults, bar fights, theft, and was once involved in securing a murder scene.

It’s a long way from his days at Concordia, where Cardi was responsible for everything from scheduling appearances for Buzz, the Stingers’ mascot, to putting on halftime shows at varsity games to making sure the Loyola campus athletic facilities were secure at night. But he says his time at the university was instrumental in preparing him for his new career.

“I learned a lot about communications at Concordia,” he explained. “Dealing with the public is the most important skill in my job now. It’s not how big you are, how strong you are or how quickly you fire your gun. The job is all about tactical communication. It’s about how to de-escalate a situation by talking to people.”

Despite the excitement and challenges of police work, Cardi misses his days on the Loyola campus.

“I have a lot of good memories and made a lot of good friends over the 10 years I was there as a student and employee,” said Cardi, who graduated in 1994 with a BA, major in political science. “I hope that I’ll be able to get back for a golf tournament or Homecoming. I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone.”

Cardi, who now makes his home in Campbellville, Ont., is one of three former Stingers on the Peel police force. Lisa Herritt and Paul Noonan, both former hockey players, also patrol the region.