Fallen Heroes Honoured at BC Law Enforcement Memorial

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A palpable sense of sorrow hung in the air during Sunday afternoon’s gathering at the B.C. Legislature. The assembly was a tribute to police officers who had laid down their lives while serving their duties.

The jeopardy that officers confront daily was starkly highlighted recently. An RCMP officer from Ridge Meadows was tragically slain on duty, a mere two days before the yearly BC Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony.

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“The heartbreak today is profound. We already know that at next year’s memorial we’ll be appending another name: Const. Rick O’Brien, who was murdered senselessly on Friday,” expressed Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, the superior officer of the B.C. RCMP.

In Coquitlam, O’Brien, along with two other officers, were executing a search warrant linked to a drug sweep in Maple Ridge. The two other officers sustained injuries but have been discharged from the hospital.

A young man of 25, Nicholas Bellemare, faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder with a firearm.

“Our RCMP family reels in pain today. We mourn the loss of two of our members within the span of a year,” uttered a grieving McDonald.

Last year, Const. Shaelyn Yang had also lost her life, succumbing to a fatal stabbing incident while attempting to rescue a man at a Burnaby park.

Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth honored the fallen officers, “These men and women sacrificed their lives to safeguard ours. Today’s memorial serves as a reminder of the hazards and adversities that our enforcement officers must face to protect their communities.”

Addressing the gathered mourners, speakers at the memorial highlighted that the officers they were honoring were much more than their uniforms.

“They were parents, children, community coaches, mentors, neighbors, and friends,” stated Doug Forsdick, the provincial director of adult custody division with BC Corrections. “They leave behind families bound together in grief actions that few of us will comprehend completely.”

In the last year, 13 law enforcement officers across the country have valiantly laid down their lives. Their names have been inscribed in the honour roll.

“The extraordinary turnout here today is a testament to your individual and shared resolve to ensure that the sacrifice of our fallen officers is always remembered. Because a hero who is remembered, never dies,” emphasized Deputy Chief Const. Robert Warren of the Saanich Police Department.

Victorians and the national memorial in Ottawa were united in remembering Const. O’Brien, whose name will be officially added to the honour roll next year.

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