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EDITORIAL: Officers deserve gratitude

It's been a dangerous time to be a Canadian police officer as eight have been killed in the past six months.
The flags at the Okotoks RCMP detachment fly at half mast on March 17, 2023, following the deaths of two Edmonton Police officers the day prior. Constables Travis Jordan and Brett Ryan were fatally shot while responding to a domestic violence call.

It’s become a far too frequent occurrence in this country. 

Last week, two members of the Edmonton Police Service lost their lives in the line of duty, making them the seventh and eighth police officers to be killed in Canada in the last six months.

The deaths of Const. Brett Ryan, 30, and Const. Travis Jordan, 35, who were shot by a 16-year-old while responding to a call at an apartment complex in northeast part of the city on March 16, are, first and foremost, an absolute tragedy.  

The killing of these two courageous officers will undoubtedly be examined from all angles, everything from mental health to gun violence, but the underlying takeaway from this most recent tragic event is that policing in Canada is an increasingly dangerous profession – and what happened in Edmonton last week is just the latest example. 

It’s been a deadly last six months for police officers across the country: An officer was stabbed to death at a homeless camp in Burnaby last October, while a month earlier, an officer was shot in an ambush at a fast-food restaurant in Mississauga.

Should you think this is just a big city problem, two officers were killed last October while responding to a disturbance call in Innisfil, Ont., a town of about 40,000 people about an hour north of Toronto. Yet another was fatally shot in an ambush two days after Christmas outside of Hagersville, Ont., a community of just 3,000.  

These kinds of incidents have been common in the U.S. for some time now. Though we haven’t been immune from them here, they have, thankfully, been far less frequent in Canada. Whether the events of the last six months are a blip or they’re indicative of a more dangerous trend, this spate of violence must be alarming to the brave men and women who put on the uniform every day. 

What we do know is that we all owe those in law enforcement a debt of gratitude for what they do to keep our communities safe.