Supt. Deanne Burleigh, Officer in Charge of the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment, speaks at the unveiling of the Fallen Officer Memorial outside the Chilliwack RCMP detachment on Nov. 8. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Fallen officer memorial unveiled at Chilliwack RCMP detachment

Nov. 8 ceremony memorializes two officers who died in the line of work

Just two days after an Abbotsford Police Department officer was killed in the line of duty, a memorial to two fallen Chilliwack RCMP officers was unveiled in front of the Airport Road detachment.

It was Christmas Day in 1997 when Const. Gerald Fortis of the Sumas RCMP Highway Patrol succumbed to injuries received during an icy crash on Highway 1.

Five years later on Dec. 22, 2002, Const. Vernon Genaille of the Agassiz RCMP detachment suffered a fatal heart attack during an arrest of scrap metal thieves in Popkum.

Fortis and Genaille are now memorialized in both a bronze commemorative display in front of the Chilliwack RCMP detachment, but also on a wall of honour inside the building.

“This is a tribute that will give our citizens a place to pay their respects,” Chilliwack RCMP Supt. Deanne Burleigh said at the ceremony attended by dozens of Mounties, along with dignitaries, as well as family members of the deceased officers.

Also speaking at the ceremony were Harrison Hot Springs Mayor Leo Facio, District of Kent Mayor John Van Laerhoven, and Chilliwack Coun. Jason Lum on behalf of the mayor and city council.

“This dedication monument will ensure that we never forget the sacrifices that we ask our men and women who work as police officers to perform for us on a daily basis,” Lum said. “This monument will ensure that mayor and council never forget the service and sacrifice that we ask all of our police officers to perform for us on a daily basis.”

READ MORE: Abbotsford police officer killed in shootout

READ MORE: ‘There are no words’: Abbotsford community holds quiet vigil for fallen police officer

A number of local businesses helped fund the monument, but $2,500 in funding was also received from provincial civil forfeiture proceeds.

“Memorials that show respect for professionals who put public safety ahead of their own, especially those who’ve paid the ultimate price for their selflessness, serve as important reminders of how police officers are fundamental to the safety and quality of life we enjoy in B.C.,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth in a press release.

The memorial in Chilliwack comes 40 years after Ottawa rookie constable David Kirkwood was murdered in the line of duty on July 11, 1977. That killing prompted a special service and tribute, which led to the Canadian Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Service.

On Sept. 24, 1998, the Government of Canada officially proclaimed the last Sunday of September every year as Police and Peace Officers’ National Memorial Day.

“We remember our fallen officers every day,” Burleigh said Wednesday.

Back in 1978, the first memorial honoured 14 officers. By this year, the names of more than 860 fallen officers are engraved in Honour Roll tablets.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

RCMP officers in red serge at the unveiling of the Fallen Officer Memorial outside the Chilliwack RCMP detachment on Nov. 8. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Rennell Sound road access to be closed over Labour Day weekend

Haida Gwaii Natural Resource District temporarily closing Rennell Road Aug. 31 to Sept. 7

Regional district requests review of Tlell, Tow Hill speed limits

Electoral Area Advisory Committee recommended request ‘to make sure everybody’s safe’

Haida Gwaii resident upcycles glass into ‘quarantini’ tumblers

Faye Laidlaw of Queen Charlotte making tumblers, candleholders to keep glass out of landfill

Power restored for more than 1,300 BC Hydro customers impacted by outage

Outages left hundreds of BC Hydro customers on Haida Gwaii without power on Aug. 9

Haida Gwaii libraries resume inter-branch deliveries

Users can once again access materials from entire Vancouver Island Regional Library system

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

Teen killer Kelly Ellard gets day parole extension, allowing up to 5 days at home

Ellard is serving a life sentence for the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk

Andrew Scheer likely marking last day in House of Commons as Opposition leader

Today’s Commons sitting is one of two scheduled for August

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Lower Mainland woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Most Read