Fallen officers remembered at solemn ceremony
Thousands of police officers, family members and dignitaries gathered at the provincial legislature Sunday morning for a solemn ceremony remembering Ontario's slain officers.
The names of 231 officers killed in the line of duty since 1804 were read aloud, and six names were added to the Wall of Honour.
Among those who died while on the job last year is Windsor police Const. John Atkinson, who was shot dead one year ago this weekend while trying to break up a suspected drug deal in the southwestern city.
The 37-year-old husband and father of two was on plainclothes duty on May 5, 2006 when he approached two teenaged suspects outside a convenience store. Atkinson, a 14-year veteran, died from his gunshot wounds.
Atkinson's wife Shelley, who attended with 10-year-old son Mitchell and eight-year-old daughter Nicole, took comfort in the presence of another widow, Debbie Doucet.
"We've got to know each other in the last year," Shelley said. "Our husbands passed away nine days apart. We walk in each other's shoes everyday."
Const. Donald Doucet of Sault Ste. Marie died when the cruiser he was a passenger in was hit by a minivan driven by an alleged drunk driver. The 12-year-veteran left behind two children.
The other officer killed last year was Huron OPP Const. David Mounsey, an eight-year veteran, who also died in a traffic accident. Mounsey, 50, left behind his common-law wife and three children.
Premier Dalton McGuinty and Lieutenant-Governor James Bartleman attended the eighth annual memorial, as did police officers from across Canada and the United States.
"It is my great and heavy privilege to convey the respect of Ontarians to this gathering, to say on their behalf, to all of you whose grief is new again today, how sorry we are for your loss,'' McGuinty said.
The names of three officers killed last century were also added to the Wall of Honour. They are:
- Const. John R. Davey, a Cornwall officer shot and killed in 1892 during a robbery;
- County Const. Albert C. Springstead, a Wentworth County officer killed inside a jail in 1919 by a convicted murderer; and
- Highway Traffic Officer Miles Campbell, with the Department of Highways in Ottawa, who died in 1929 in a traffic accident.
The Wall of Honour contains the names of officers from 56 different police services. The OPP have 86 officers named, while the Toronto Police Service has 35.
A little more than half of those killed on the job died in traffic accidents, while shootings account for almost one-third.
With a report from CTV's Chris Eby and files from The Canadian Press