Fallen officers honoured at police memorial
Policing has become more difficult, says Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau
Ottawa's police chief says officers face more challenges in the line of duty than ever before.
More than one thousand officers from police forces across Canada and their families attended the Canadian Police and Peace Officers Memorial on Parliament Hill Sunday to honour their colleagues who died in the line of duty.
Six new names were added to the list, including two officers from the Fredericton Police Force who were killed seven weeks ago when responding to a call.
It's just still very fresh for us.- Fredericton police Chief Leanne Fitch on how the small force is dealing with the loss of two of its officers.
"There's more violence in our community," said Chief Charles Bordeleau in a French interview.
He said there's no question policing has become more difficult than when he started more than 30 years ago.
"We all wear the uniform with pride. We all understand the risks that are taken when we are out there doing a very difficult job."
The memorial can be a difficult reminder of the dangers officers face every day.
"Ideally, we would like to come to one of these memorials and not have to add anyone to the memorial wall," said Constable Akhil Mooken with Peel Regional Police, calling the deaths of the six officers, including the two from Fredericton last month, tragic.
"Because it is so recent, it's definitely a little bit more touching and a little bit more memorable and we're here to honour those officers, as well as all those that have died before them."
He said the complex nature of policing is a challenge that's increasing but officers are adapting. Officers' communities are important to them, he said, even if they know they could die on the job.
Six officers remembered
The officers who died in the past year were:
- Victoria police Const. Ian Jordan, who was in a coma for 30 years after his police car crashed into another cruiser.
- Abbotsford police Const. John Davidson who died in a shooting.
- RCMP Const. Francis Deschênes who was struck by a vehicle while helping two people change a flat tire.
- Sûreté du Québec Const. Jacques Ostigny who died after going into cardiorespiratory arrest while looking for a person in distress on a remote trail on Saguenay fjord.
- Fredericton police constables Robb Costello, 45, and Sara Burns, 43 who were killed when responding to a call of shots fired at an apartment complex on Aug. 10. Two civilians were also killed.
Matthew Vincent Raymond, 48, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in Costello and Burns deaths.
Looking back at that day is difficult for the force's police chief.
"It's shocking, but at the same time, when you're in policing you kind of always have that worst fear in the back of your mind," said Chief Leanne Fitch.
With a small force of little more than 100 officers, Fitch said it's been difficult to bounce back to full staffing. She's also grateful Fredericton's mayor was at Sunday's memorial.
"It was just a really tragic situation...I'm sure we'll learn from this as we go forward. It's just still very fresh for us."
- With files from Radio-Canada