Showing respect for officers who died in the line of duty

Ceremonies for Canadian Police and Peace Officers Memorial Day held extra emotion in Alberta, following the death of an officer in the line of duty earlier in 2020.

Hundreds of police and peace officers gathered to pay tribute to fallen comrades on Sunday.

There’s 7,000 police officers in our province and countless other peace officers that are working for Albertans every day and I think having a memorial, once a year, to have a memorial to stop, honour the fallen… is really important,” said Mark Neufeld, the chief constable with Calgary police.

This year, the 101st name was added to the Pillar of Strength, a permanent monument to officers on the Alberta legislature grounds. Sgt. Andrew Harnett with the Calgary police was killed on New Year’s Eve 2020 in a hit-and-run.

“It becomes very personal,” said Neufeld. “For us in the Calgary Police Service, this is our first line-of-duty death really in a generation, the last one was in 1999.”

The ceremony included speeches and a reading of the names of the officers who have died in the line of duty in Alberta.

“We’re blessed in Canada that we don’t lose a lot of police and peace officers, but the reality of it is that we do, and I think we’ve been reminded of it.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Ryan Harding