By Melanie Scott
We still don’t know his name, or where he was from. We don’t know what kind of demons he may have been battling. All we do know is that a young officer who had joined our police force just a month ago died at his own hand on June 27 at the MRC des Collines de l’Outaouais detachment. As with the loss of RCMP Constable Douglas Larche and his fellow officers in Moncton last month, a life has been cut short by tragedy.
This is the kind of event that hits home, and hits hard. One wonders if, while walking along Riverside Drive, they may have passed him as he did his rounds, or had been in line behind him at Timmy Ho. Did he always want to be a cop? As a kid, did he play good guy / bad guy with his pals? Was there one particular moment when he realized he wanted to serve the community? We can guess, and perhaps his grieving family could give us some insight, but we’ll never really know – we’ll never get the chance to ask him.
There is nothing more tragic than outliving your child. We invest everything we have in trying to ensure our kids are on the right path. We support them in realizing their dreams, pick them up when they fall, laud them when they succeed. That’s the natural order of things. When that natural order is disrupted, we simply don’t know what to do or where to turn. This is not how we imagined things would go. For the parents and family of this young man, the road ahead is going to be more difficult than anyone could imagine. As many of us have learned, you never recover from this kind of loss; you simply learn to live with it.
What of his mentors? The seasoned pros who accepted him into their circle and were going to show him the ropes? The shock of knowing someone one moment and losing them the next is also something from which you don’t recover, whether you’ve worked with them for weeks or for decades. For our police force, the reality of the loss is something they will have to face every single day. They won’t be able to cross the threshold of the site where tragedy struck without thinking of this truly heartbreaking act, wondering if there had been signs of what was to come.
And then there’s the community he served for such a brief period. We see our boys and girls in blue cruising through our towns, dealing with everything from misdemeanours to murder. We may not always agree with them. We might not like the rules they put in place. But knowing they’re there (many of us have had to call them in at one time or another) provides us with a sense that there is order, security, and help just a phone call away.
In the coming days, perhaps there will be some revelation as to what the fallen officer was dealing with. Perhaps there won’t. Let’s take some time to stop and think about him as his family begins the long process of grieving.