In what can only be described as family is how past and present members of law enforcement view everyone who ever pulled on a uniform.
This fact got driven home again last week with the deaths of four people in a shooting in Fredericton, N.B.
Const. Robb Costello, 45, and Const. Sarah Burns, 43, both members of the Fredericton Police Force were killed in the shooting, along with civilians Donnie Robichaud, 42, and Bobbie Lee Wright, 32.
The crime is still being investigated.
“When things (like Fredericton) happen, it is hard to know what to say,’’ retired RCMP Superintendent Bill Malone said this week.
“Policing today is a lot more difficult for a host of reasons. One of those is the number of guns available,’’ he said.
Malone, from Buchans, is in St. John’s this week to prepare for the launch of a book he penned after he served as the deputy Canadian police commander in Kabul, Afghanistan, from May 2011 to May 2012.
This is the fourth time in the last 44 years the province of New Brunswick has mourned the deaths of peace officers.
Most recently, Const. Douglas James Larche, 40, from Saint John, N.B., Const. Dave Joseph Ross, 32, from Victoriaville, Que., and Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, from Boulogne-Billancourt, France were killed in Moncton, N.B. on June 4, 2014.
The Moncton City Police mourned the loss of officers Cpl. Aurele Bourgeois and Const. Michael O'Leary, who were found in shallow graves outside Moncton in December 1974.
The fourth included RCMP officers — Const. Perry Brophy and Cpl. Barry Lidstone — who were shot to death in Hoyt as the result of a domestic dispute in January 1978.
Within two years of their shooting deaths, the RCMP was using the case in a scenario at Depot Division in Regina, where cadets go for training. Today, the scenario is still one of four domestic violence cases on the curriculum.
With the Brophy and Lidstone scenario, including pictures from the crime scene, cadets learn domestic violence cases can be volatile, there is no such thing as a typical case, and any incident can be unpredictable.
Malone was posted in New Brunswick for half of his RCMP career, nine of those in Fredericton and the other six in Northern New Brunswick.
In the Moncton incident in 2014, he knew one of the fallen officers and nearly half of the pall bearers at his funeral.
“I can’t bring myself to watch it on TV, it hurts my heart so much,’’ he said.
“There are families left behind, children who are waking up with no father. My heart goes out to those families in New Brunswick. It’s just brutal,” he added.
He used as an example of being in the food court at the mall. There are lots of people around you, but you never know what people are thinking and then something bad happens that you never ever thought of or had any way to see it coming.
“People always talk about mental health. Sure, there are issues, but what is the way to solve that issue,” he said.
“There are ways to mitigate the risk, but you never get the risk to zero in this job.”