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First police officer killed in Edmonton gets grave marker one century later

A century after he was killed while attempting to arrest a suspect, the Edmonton Police Service is marking the grave of its first officer killed in the line of duty.

Const. Frank Beevers killed in 1918 while attempting to arrest a suspect

After 100 years, slain Edmonton police constable receives permanent grave marker 1:17

One hundred years after he was killed while attempting to arrest a suspect, the Edmonton Police Service is marking the grave of its first officer killed in the line of duty.

Const. Frank Beevers was shot and killed on Oct 17, 1918, while trying to capture a fugitive wanted for robbery and the murder of a businessman.

Beevers was buried at the Edmonton Cemetery at 118th Street and 107th Avenue and while he was "laid to rest with full police honours," no headstone was ever placed on his grave.

An officer wears a replica of the uniform worn by Edmonton police in the early 1900s behind the new headstone at the grave site of Const. Frank Beevers. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

"No one should be buried in an unmarked grave, especially after making the ultimate sacrifice protecting citizens," Chief Rod Knecht said in a news release.

"We may never truly understand the background to the missing headstone, but today we have the opportunity to set in stone our appreciation for Const. Beevers selfless service."

Det. Aubrey Zalaski hosted a ceremony for the unveiling of a granite monument that now sits on the site of Beever's grave as a headstone.

"Originally it was just a wooden cross and you could imagine over the decades how that cross could wear in the weather and it was eventually removed because it was rotten out," said Det. Aubrey Zalaski.  

"To be able to replace it with something that is going to last a time to honour the hundredth anniversary and honour him as the first police officer that sacrificed his life in the line of duty."

Edmonton Const. Frank Beevers was killed on the job in 1918. (Edmonton Police Service)

Two years ago, a local history enthusiast, Sheila Thomas, alerted the police service that Beevers grave had no headstone.

Since then, the service commissioned a monument, donated by Edmonton Granite Memorials.

​Beevers was initially hired by the Edmonton Police Department in 1915 as a custodian. Three years later he was promoted to constable. The EPS credits him as a "conscientious and efficient officer with sterling character."

Beevers was born in Leeds, England in 1866.

The Edmonton Police Department shown in photograph believed to have been taken in 1916, two years before Beevers was killed. (Edmonton Police Service)

Graham Beevers, a distant relative of Frank, and his daughter Candy Johnson travelled from London, England to attend the ceremony. He received an email from the EPS about the ceremony two months ago and didn't have any knowledge of Frank.

"The realization that one of our ancestors has a fame that we didn't know about, and we ought to come," Graham Beevers said.

Twitter: @Travismcewancbc

Travis.mcewan@cbc.ca