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

‘Out of the Interior: Survival of the Small-town Cinema in British Columbia’ is coming to Gate House Theatre in Port McNeill

On Saturday, June 8 at 7:00 p.m., ‘Out of the Interior’ documentary will screen at Gate House Theatre.

North Island Rising: Political polarization

This fall there will be a minimum of four candidates wanting your vote here on the North Island.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: The last walk together

“I would give almost anything to be able to have another walk together”

North Island College holding information session on new culinary diploma

Get a sneak peek at the new culinary kitchen at the Campbell River campus

Council approves replacement of overhead heaters at Fire Hall

Port Hardy council has agreed to spend $11,000 on the replacement of… Continue reading

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen found in torched SUV

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

Most Read