At 10 a.m. on April 24, RCMP detachments all over the country, including Prince Rupert, stood at attention in solemn salute to pay tribute to fallen officer Const. Heidi Stevenson. The tragic death, while on duty more that 6,000 kilometres away, garnered Prince Rupert officers to pay honour and respect from the other side of the continent with a moment of silence and salute at the cenotaph.
“The situation is made more difficult because the officers can not come together (during COVID -19) which makes it very difficult,” Insp. Blake Ward of the Prince Rupert RCMP detachment said.
“We just wanted to pay our respects to Const. Heidi Stevenson as well as all the other victims of the tragedy from back east,”Ward said.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we learned of the loss of Const. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the Force who was killed in the line of duty, responding to an active shooter incident, Kevin Lawton, executive director of The RCMP Foundation said.
“April 19th marks a devastating day for Nova Scotia and all of Canada. Our thoughts go out to Heidi’s family and to all of the families impacted by this tragedy,” Lawton said.
Many officers and detachments through out Canada wore their red serge dress uniforms as a sign of honour and solidarity in this tragic circumstance, however, in Prince Rupert officers were required for health and safety purposes to remain in daily work uniform.
It would be very difficult to respond to emergency calls in full dress uniform, Ward said.
“We are abiding by the need to keep only essential services out and about. The only members that are out are the ones that are working. Being that we are working we need to be able to respond to calls and deal with our duties,” Ward said.
Stevenson was killed while responding to a gunman on a rampage who claimed more than 22 lives in Nova Scotia this past week.
“My sincere condolences go out to the families of those who lost loved ones or had family or friends injured. Many came forward in a time of chaos and terror to help their fellow family members, friends and members of the community. As a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police I am proud of those who came to the aid of others,” Del Byron, Staff Sergent at the RCMP said.
with files from Angie Mindus and Black Press
K-J Millar | Journalist
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