Police officers across Canada rode bicycles yesterday for 'A Ride to Remember', to honour the members who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Chief Jamie Blunden with the Weyburn Police Service said officers from Regina, Saskatoon, and Moose Jaw, including Deputy Chief of the Moose Jaw Police Service, Rick Johns, made a stop to the WPS headquarters yesterday a stop along their route across the province.
“It is open up to everyone in Saskatchewan, and it's mostly police officers, but there's some family and friends that also participate,” he explained. “It's about all the fallen officers throughout the country that we recognize.”
“This group gets together every year and rides for about three or four days prior to the memorial in Regina. They'll start at one location and they'll do three or four different stops on the way, anywhere from 150 to 200 kilometres a day, for some recognition in the communities for the members that have lost their lives in the line of duty,” he said.
“They do about 450 kilometres in the two or three days that they're out there, and it's just about riding to the different communities.”
Blunden said while none of Weyburn's police officers took part this year, he himself did participate in the ride two years ago.
“We rode from Saskatoon into a smaller town, over to Moose Jaw, down into Regina. So every day they put in a lot of miles.”
Those who did come down to Weyburn yesterday on bicycles were fed some Boston Pizza courtesy of the WPS and posed for a photo.
“In this case, September 21st, they left up north from North Battleford and they made their way all the way down to Regina via a few stops along the way.”
Losing an officer, he said, truly rocks a community.
“It rocks the nation as well. I mean, if we look across Canada over the last year, we've lost a lot of members on the job between the the RCMP, municipal police officers, federal officers. Every time you open up the paper, there's another incident that happened. We just lost an individual in Coquitlam in the last few days with respect to doing a search warrant, so it does take a toll on the community and it also takes a toll on the the members throughout the nation, too, as well,” he commented. “So anytime you have that, especially in small, close-knit communities, it does take a toll on everybody, so it's always nice to bring recognition and a reminder to everybody about the sacrifices that members make.”
Blunden said it's really important to acknowledge and support rides like this, which bring this sentiment to to the forefront for everybody to gain understanding of what really transpires throughout the year.
“It's to recognize the true sacrifice that members have taken throughout the year by joining the police service and some of them do lose their lives over it, right? So the memorial on Sunday is always well represented, and these members end up at the memorial for the ceremony there [in Regina],” he noted. “It does also take place at a national level. They have a national Ride to Remember, so there's also one in Ottawa that they ride in Ontario.”
He said Constable Phil Clark has challenged him to prepare for next year's Ride to Remember.
“I've got to get back on the bike, he has indicated he wants to do it,” he said. “We tried to make the commitment this year but didn't make it. So next year we're going to see if we get on our bikes and get out there and and participate as well. I'll hold myself to that, and I'm going to go on air and say that that Phil Clark is also going to participate. So there's no backing down. And so at the end of the day, we'll get ourselves ready for that ride next year.”
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