A crowd of supporters gathered at the RCMP Gander detachment on Thursday for a memorial to honour the three officers slain in the Moncton, N.B. shooting last week.
Wreaths were laid by law enforcement and community groups from the central Newfoundland region, and officers in Gander said they were touched by the outpouring of support from the region.
- Moncton shootings: Slain RCMP officers mourned by families
- Moncton shootings: 3 RCMP officers dead, 2 wounded
Sgt. Phil Matthews said the community support means more than people realize.
"This is part of the healing process, to know that we are a part of a community that genuinely … loves us, it means everything and it gives us the power [and] the will to keep moving forward," said Matthews.
"It's awesome to have the town behind us and I always knew, and I know the town is here with us and the people are with us, but this visible act of love is absolutely encouraging."
Every day risks
People in the town have gone as far as dropping off gifts and food to members of the local police force since the shootings that killed Const. Dave Ross, Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, and Const. Douglas Larche.
Kendra Dyson, daughter of an RCMP officer, said it's easy to forget the real danger police put themselves in to protect the public.
"It just makes you realize what they do for us, 'cause you're not used to it sometimes … sometimes you forget 'cause it's just a daily ritual of going to work," she said.
"Once things like this happen, it makes you realize the dangers of it and just what can go [wrong], what people can do."
Retired RCMP officer Richard Dion said it was touching to see how many people felt a connection to the local officers after such a tragic event.
"Beautiful, there's no other words to describe it. People come out and wish you well and pass their condolences along and things like that, it's tremendous, really," said Dion.
"I've never had anybody that was killed under my command type thing, but it's really sad. There's no way you can explain it, other than it's tragic, but that's part of being a police officer's life, I guess you've got to take the good with the bad."
The public thanked officers personally at a reception following Thursday's ceremony.