Fallen police and peace officers honoured in Calgary memorial service

CALGARY — The city of Calgary hosted the 22nd annual Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Day event Sunday to honour the 100 officers who died in the line of duty in service to Alberta.

The event is typically held in Edmonton and is open to the public, but was moved to Calgary this year and livestreamed online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a day of reflection just to say thank you to the fallen,” said Chief Mark Neufeld of the Calgary Police Service.

“It’s just one of those days where we step back and just appreciate the work that folks are doing in the community for us.”

Officials and representatives from numerous police forces across Alberta gathered to hear remarks, including the names of the fallen men and women in the line of duty.

A single wreath was laid on the steps of municipal plaza by Marryanne Pope, widow of John Petropoulos who was killed while inspecting a break-and-enter complaint for CPS twenty years ago.

“Today is a wonderful way to remember all of our fallen, including John,” she said.

He fell through a false ceiling and suffered fatal brain injuries.

“It’s a powerful anniversary this 20 years and we are remembering John as a police officer and the sacrifice he gave and we are also raising awareness about workplace safety and encouraging people to just do what they can to make sure everyone gets home safely. All Canadians.”

She has since founded the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund and is an advocate against workplace deaths.

Other dignitaries present included Premier Jason Kenney and Justice Minister and Solicitor-General Kaycee Madu.

Neufeld said honouring the lives of the fallen is not diminished amid recent conversations with city council to address policing concerns and treatment of Black, Indigenous and people of colour.

“There’s great men and women that are in the community everyday and they are sacrificing and working and dedicated in professional ways on behalf of the community. And even as we talk about the ways we want to go into the future, we ought not forget about the great work those people are doing for us day in and day out.”

A “vehicular march past” motorcade drove down MacLeod Trail following the ceremony.

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