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.

 

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

Tofino council rejects new liquor store

“We have a severe alcohol problem on the West Coast here.”

Ucluelet Soapbox Derby revved up to return

Over 30 West Coast kids geared up to race down Bay Street this Saturday in Ucluelet.

Ucluelet talks pot shops

Two applications are being considered as cannabis retailers.

Ahousaht students kick off school year with inspirational field-trip

Maaqtusiis kicks off year with two-night stay at Cedar Coast Field Station on Vargas Island

Surf’s Up event in Tofino offers a wave of positivity for families living with autism

“There’s no other opportunity like this for kids like Rylan.”

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read