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Community comes out to honour slain RCMP officers

Members of the Revelstoke RCMP, along with other emergency service personnel, stand in front of the detachment, with the Canadian flag at half mast. - Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review
Members of the Revelstoke RCMP, along with other emergency service personnel, stand in front of the detachment, with the Canadian flag at half mast.
— image credit: Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review

About 100 people came out to show support for the Revelstoke RCMP as they honoured three fellow officers who were slain in Moncton last week.

"We are here to pay tribute to three members of the RCMP who were killed in Moncton," said Staff-Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky, addressing the gathering outside the detachment on Campbell Avenue. "They are remembered for their dedication to the RCMP and the community they served. The family and friends of the three officers as well as the people of Moncton need support to heal, and that is what we offer to them today."

The ceremony was held on Tuesday, June 10, at 11 a.m. to coincide with the regimental funeral that was held for constables Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, Douglas James Larche and Dave Joseph Ross at the Moncton Colisseum that same day.

The Revelstoke RCMP, dressed in their red serge, marched in unison to the detachment, accompanied by other emergency services personnel. There, they lined up in front of a lowered Canadian flag that stood above photos of the three slain officers.

"The incident in Moncton reminds us all that this type of tragedy can occur in any Canadian town or city," said Grabinsky. "It is our training and preparedness as police officers and the cooperation of the community – including other emergency services personnel – that reduces this risk and makes it possible to manage the unexpected."

He gave thanks to the community for the "outpouring of sentiment received in the form of flowers, heartfelt comments and messages of support."

Others also spoke at the ceremony. Ken Jones, the minister of the Revelstoke United Church, remarked how we are all connected today, thanks to social media, and that what happens in Moncton can have an impact on people here — particularly for police officers.

"There are those that have known those men and their families as well, so it affects us all," he said. "These young men and their families, our hearts go out to them. Amen."

Mayor David Raven said the incident was a tragedy that we must not allow to continue and must allow to heal, "because in that healing and looking after ourselves and our family and our community — as we move on we will not let him win again."

He said we must "honour, remember and grow" and also continue with our lives and appreciate and thank those that serve to protect us.

"For that is the community we are, and the country we are. And the freedoms and enjoyments we are allowed to pursue are because of the officers sacrifices, commitments and dedication they make to serve and protect us," he said. "For that we are grateful."

Const. Gary McLaughlin delivered the final address — a passionate speech thanking the community members who showed their support for the RCMP and also targeting those that confront the police.

"These RCMP officers represent the core reality that police officers face all over the world on a daily basis," he said. "It doesn't matter where you work, we've all been face to face with the dangers often never spoken outside the walls of this detachment."

While police regularly get yelled at accosted and often don't have their story heard, they know that most people support what they do, McLaughlin said.

"When such terrible events unfold, the public shows its true feelings of police," he said. "It isn't the people that yell at us in the streets every night. It's not the people that follow us home. It's not the people that write things without simply asking us if it's true or not.

"It's the real majority of the community that are silent. They just know that we do is good and right. They sleep easy at night knowing that we'll take care of them."

Police do what they do because they want to protect the people in communities they live in and are a part of, he continued.

"By coming today you have sent a strong message to those in the world that believe law enforcement is the enemy," he said. "They believe that police officers are there to take away their freedoms and rights. They believe the only way to achieve those goals is to kill those who swore an oath to protect them. These people are cowards and they will never win."

The three officers were then honoured, with flowers placed next to each of their photos. That was followed by a moment of silence and the singing of O Canada.

 

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