Local RCMP and firefighters joined members of the public on Tuesday, June 10, to share in funeral services for three fallen New Brunswick officers.
About 25 Cranbrook RCMP officers and firefighters marched from the Tamarack Centre to the Alliance Church on Tuesday, June 10.
The funeral proceedings for three RCMP officers who died in an ambush in New Brunswick last week were broadcast by CBC and streamed to a large screen at the Alliance Church.
Constables Dave Ross, Douglas Larche and Fabrice Gevaudan were gunned down June 4 after responding to a report of a man with firearms in a residential neighbourhood in the northwest area of Moncton. Constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen were injured.
Around 100 people gathered in Cranbrook to watch the regimental funerals together. Cpl. Barry Graham with the Cranbrook RCMP said it’s just the latest show of support from the local community since last week’s tragedy.
The detachment has been flooded with cards and messages for the RCMP, social media has been awash with signs of support, and people have been stopping members in the street to show their appreciation.
“People have been stopping into the office here, and when we walk down the street, people are outright thanking us for our service,” said Cpl. Graham.
“We deal with a lot of the negative things that happen. Everybody is looking for somebody to fix a problem and we rarely get the feedback from the people we are out there to support and help.”
The outpouring of support has been uplifting, he went on.
“It’s heartwarming to see the response to such a tragedy. It gives you a little renewed enthusiasm for doing what we do and why we do it.”
A former Cranbrook RCMP officer, Cst. Travise Dow, is now stationed in Amherst, Nova Scotia, and was part of the force that searched for the Moncton shooter last week.
“You are always concerned for everybody but concerned most especially for the people you know,” said Cpl. Graham.
The RCMP is now reflecting on the Moncton tragedy and trying to grow from it.
“Every time somebody in the police universe gets injured, we are trained to look at things and say, ‘Okay, what would I have done? Would I have done anything different?’ In this situation, there is nothing anyone could have done different. It was a straight-out ambush,” said Cpl. Graham.
“You can’t start the day, put on your duty belt and plan for that.”
But he said the incident has been a reminder for many in the force. In training, RCMP are reminded to be on high alert at all times.
“As you pull over hundreds if not thousands of vehicles, you tend to get more and more complacent,” said Cpl. Graham.
“It’s a wake-up call for us, going to each and every call. We are not immortal. There are bad people out there. If it can happen in a moderate sized Atlantic Canadian town, it can happen in Cranbrook.”
But just as powerful as that feeling is the sense of pride in how the RCMP handled the search and takedown of the gunman, who was arrested without police firing a shot. Now they are binding together to mourn the fallen.
“It’s almost like someone severing a tendon. You will never get that tendon back – those members will never be back – but the rest of the tendons get stronger to accommodate for it. That’s the goal: to come out of every situation, good, bad or ugly, a little bit stronger with the impetus to focus our training, get more equipment, be a little bit different – without being jaded; we don’t have to be paranoid but just a little more prepared for every shift.”