The life of Canada’s first aboriginal police officer has been turned into a comic book by Edmonton Police.
Alex Decoteau wasn’t just an Edmonton police officer. He was an Olympic runner and a soldier who fought for Canada in World War One.
Decoteau was killed in the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. He was only 29.
“He had a short life, unfortunately, but it was an incredible life,” said writer/producerJeff Awid, who created Legacy of Heroes with illustrator Jared Robinson.
“I mean he packed it full of living.”
A display in Edmonton Police headquarters contains artifacts of Decoteau’s remarkable life: his police notebook, the medals and trophies he won as a runner, and a poster from the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.
When Decoteau joined the Canadian Army, he raced against other soldiers stationed in England.
After winning one race, no one could find the trophy so King George V, who happened to be watching, presented Decoteau with his gold pocket watch, which is on display.
“I mean to me that’s an incredible piece of history,” Awid said. “Here's this very important person giving this fellow from Canada his pocket watch and fortunately the family was able to hold onto the watch.”
Decoteau’s story was also fun for comic book illustrator/producer Jared Robinson to draw.
“You know we've got him on the motorbike, he's in Edmonton, he's in the war, he's running races, talking to the king,” he said. “All this kind of stuff -- golden.”
Decoteau's story is inspiring to members of Edmonton's aboriginal community.
“I'm thrilled that someone like Alex Decoteau who was an outstanding human being would be claimed by the police service, by someone who would want to do a comic,” said Christine Frederick from Alberta Aboriginal Arts.
The first Legacy of Heroes issue featuring Decoteau is available online.