Since 1977, a memorial service has been held on Parliament Hill honouring police and federal correctional officers killed in the line of duty.
The organizing committee of the memorial service was lobbied by “peace officer” organizations to include all members of the law enforcement family in the ceremony. This would encompass all persons in Canada who are “Peace Officers”, reflecting the close and cooperative working relationships that exist within the law enforcement community.
On March 22, 1994, Prime Minister Jean Chretien gathered with more than 700 police officers and relatives of slain officers at a site behind the Parliament buildings. The Canadian Police Association (CPA) and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) dedicated the new Canadian Police Memorial Pavilion and the granite stone at the base of the pavilion that contains the names of officers killed on duty.When the granite stone was unveiled in the Spring of 1994, it contained the names of 227 police officers killed in the line of duty since 1879.
In the Fall of 1994, two other stones were also erected -- one for “peace officers” who had died in the line of duty that included the names of slain “peace officers” from Canadian law enforcement agencies such as Corrections, Ministry of Natural Resources, Customs and Excise, Fisheries and Oceans (Conservation and Protection) -- and the second stone explaining the Memorial Pavilion's history.
Also in 1994, a separate ceremony was held on Parliament Hill specifically for “Peace Officers”. The ceremony was a large success, with a permanent stone engraved with the names of 53 fallen officers unveiled. Still, it was the goal of the groups that worked on the “Peace Officer” ceremony to combine forces with “Police Officers” to create a combined memorial ceremony.
On September 14th, 1995, at a meeting of representatives of the various “peace officer” organizations, it was resolved to form a unified association similar to CAP and CACP to represent Canadian “peace officers”.
The coordination of the Memorial Service was turned over to the Canadian Police Association (CPA) and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) in 1996, the two associations that represent the total “police community”. Finally, as a result of the combined efforts of “peace officer” organizations, CPA and CACP, the first fully unified “peace and police officer ”Memorial Service”, commenced in 1996.
2012 MEMORIAL SERVICE SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2012
Once again we will meet on Parliament Hill to honour our fallen comrades, and to ensure that the magnitude of their sacrifice will never be forgotten. This being our 35th anniversary we will continue the focus of the Memorial on the unsung heroes, the surviving families of those brave men and women who died in the line of duty.
In 1998 the Canadian Government officially proclaimed the last Sunday of September of every year as Police and Peace Officers’ National Memorial Day. On January 17, 2003 Canadian Heritage declared the last Sunday of September of every year as a nation wide flag half-masting on all federal buildings and establishments in Canada, including the Peace Tower, from sunrise to sunset in honour of our fallen officers. These official proclamations are a fitting sign of respect, not only to those gathered on the hill, but also for those who made the ultimate tragic sacrifice to keep our communities safe and our environment protected.
In 1978 the first Memorial honoured 14 officers. In 2012 the names of over 810 members are engraved on the Honour Roll along the perimeter wall on Parliament Hill, overlooking the Ottawa River and the Supreme Court of Canada. The glass panels provide a lasting tribute to our heroes, and ensure that future generations are reminded of the supreme sacrifices of our fallen members.
On behalf of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), Canadian Police Association (CPA), and Canadian Peace Officers’ Memorial Association (CPOMA), we will continue our new method of distribution of the Memorial weekend events and information.
We are continuing our efforts to send electronic packages instead of mailing several hundred envelopes enabling us to better focus our efforts for a fitting tribute to the valiant officers we come together to remember.
The Parade Orders have been changed from past years and can be viewed at www.thememorial.ca under the tab ‘Service’. The parade will march rain or shine to Center Block for the 11:00 am start of the Memorial Service. Form up will remain at Wellington and Kent Streets in assigned columns.
On behalf of the Memorial, I ask that you continue your support of the Service, which in turn demonstrates our dedication to honour our comrades. It is also our way of ensuring the family members of those we are remembering are forever in our thoughts and prayers.
This year we will be adding one name to the honour role; Constable Vincent Roy from Bromont, Quebec. Additional information outlining the activities during the Memorial Service weekend will be posted at www.thememorial.ca for the benefit of your members. We would also welcome you to join us on our new Facebook page which can be viewed under (Canadian Police and Peace Officers Memorial or CPPOM).
Terrence J. Welsh
Ottawa Police Service Staff Sergeant - Retired
Canadian Memorial Service Coordinator
Tel.: (613) 880-5221