Const. Daniel Woodall honoured at regimental funeral

Thousands of police officers from across North America and the United Kingdom have gathered in Edmonton for the funeral of Const. Daniel Woodall, who was shot and killed while trying to serve an arrest warrant last week.

'Edmonton knew Dan, the hero. But I also wanted you to know Dan, my friend'

Family, friends and thousands of police officers gather in Edmonton for funeral of slain officer 3:09

Const. Daniel Woodall, the Edmonton police officer killed while serving an arrest warrant last week, is being remembered as a dedicated father whose love of policing brought him to Canada.

Thousands of police officers from across North America and the United Kingdom gathered at the Shaw Conference Centre for the officer's regimental funeral.

"He had my back and I had his. His biggest fear was letting you down," said Dave Ainsworth, who worked with Woodall when they were officers in Manchester, England.

"He had compassion when he needed to and strength when required."

It was Woodall's dedication to his job that convinced him to move to Edmonton to join the local police service.

"He grabbed it with both hands, even though it was scary," he said.

He said Woodall quickly embraced his new country and served as an inspiration for Ainsworth's own move to Edmonton. 

He spoke of a friend who was a practical joker, saying that Woodall had a "quick wit and a terrible sense of humour." Above all, however, Ainsworth said his former partner was a dedicated father to his two young sons. 

"We never wavered on our love of policing, our love of Edmonton and our love of being a dad."

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      Woodall was shot during a standoff in west Edmonton last week. An eight-year veteran of the Edmonton police, the constable was one of several officers attempting to arrest Norman Raddatz, 42, for criminal harassment.

      A second officer, Sgt. Jason Harley, was wounded in the shooting and sent to hospital. He was released shortly after and was able to walk alongside police Chief Rod Knecht in the funeral procession.

      Raddatz was later found in the burned-out remains of the home, having died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

      "Dan Woodall was a great colleague who touched many lives," said Chaplain Lawrence Peck, during the funeral's open remarks.

      "I know all of us wish we were not here today.… We wish that last Monday had never happened. We wish that Dan Woodall was alive."

      You have shown so much love and support to myself, my family, and all first responders.  We will be forever grateful.— Claire Woodall, wife of slain officer

      Before the funeral, thousands of mourners lined city streets for Woodall's funeral procession, which began at the Alberta Legislature and wound its way through downtown Edmonton toward the conference centre.

      One of the officers leading the procession, Const. Dana Gehring, was a former classmate of Woodall. 

      City in mourning

      A flood of public support followed last week's shootings.

      Fundraising efforts for the officer's family began almost immediately, and blue ribbons in support of the Edmonton Police Service have appeared on trees and buildings across the city. 

      Woodall's family has been overwhelmed by the response. 

      Police officers march in a procession through the streets of Edmonton, to the conference centre where Woodall's funeral was held. (Terry Reith/CBC)

      "There are really no words great enough to express my love and gratitude to the city of Edmonton," Woodall's wife, Claire, wrote in a statement.  

      "You have shown so much love and support to myself, my family and all first responders. We will be forever grateful.  I am lucky to call Edmonton my home. Thank you. From my family to yours."

      Woodall worked as a police officer in England before moving to Canada.

      "Dan was the light of our lives and the people of Edmonton have taken to him like one of their own. Thank you all again. We love you all," his parents, David and Denise, said Wednesday. 

      NYPD officer Michael Catlin spoke at the funeral about meeting Woodall at a police conference in Calgary last year. He called the officer "a friend for life."

      "Edmonton knew Dan, the hero. But I also wanted you to know Dan, my friend."

      'We will never forget'

      Woodall first joined the Greater Manchester Police in 2001. Six years later, he transferred to Edmonton, where he worked as a patrol officer before eventually joining the city's hate crimes unit.

      It was a job Woodall excelled at, according to Edmonton's police chief.

      "He helped those who were abused or bullied by others and protected those who needed assistance," Knecht said.

      "Dan invested time and effort in many, many Edmontonians. He served faithfully, modestly and proudly."

      Addressing Woodall's wife and his two young sons, aged six and four, Knecht said the Edmonton force would do what it could to support the family.

      "You are, and always will be, part of our police family. We will never forget."