Cst. Robert Kavanaugh, who has served with the RCMP and involved with the Criminal Justice System for over 20 years, is the 2021 recipient of the John Dunlop Memorial Award. The honour is presented to a member of the Nova Scotia criminal justice system who has gone above and beyond their occupational duties while also supporting community-based youth programs.

Cst. Kavanaugh, who’s on secondment to the Nova Scotia Department of Justice (DoJ), leads a team that trains police officers across the province on drug-impaired driving enforcement. His leadership resulted in the Nova Scotia RCMP being the first agency in Canada to train staff in the use of oral fluid drug screening equipment and the country’s first guilty plea at trial.

Through his work at the DoJ, Cst. Kavanaugh also works with Public Safety Canada and various working groups regarding illicit cannabis sales and retail outlets. He manages the delivery of advanced drug detection and instructor courses, too.

Outside of police work, Cst. Kavanaugh officiates all levels of minor and youth hockey. In his 33 years of officiating, he has mentored young officiants through the divisions in Nova Scotia, Alberta and Nunavut.

For the past three years, Cst. Kavanaugh has served as president of Antigonish Minor Hockey, spending two-to-three hours a day at the start of each season assisting with arranging team selections, ice times, registration, and other duties.

But perhaps most importantly, Cst. Kavanaugh has worked to ensure Antigonish Minor Hockey is a welcoming organization for all kids, regardless of their physical abilities. A para/sledge program offers those with varying capabilities the opportunity to practise hockey with their friends and play the game against rival teams.

Congratulations, Cst. Kavanaugh, on your well-deserved recognition!

The John Dunlop Memorial Award, the oldest justice award in Canada, is presented in honour of John Dunlop. Dunlop was a regional supervisor with Nova Scotia Correctional Services. He died in 1977 at the age of 42, and is remembered for his dedication to young people, community programs and sports.