Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It is with great humility, respect, and sadness that I rise in the House today to offer, again, condolences to the family and colleagues of Constable Daniel Woodall, who died in the line of duty on June 8. It was only three months ago that I rose in this very same House to remind Albertans that front-line emergency workers risk their lives every time they go to work. There are lessons to learn from last week’s tragedy, and as the PC opposition critic for Justice I will do my best to ensure police have everything they need to perform their job safely.
As a former police officer and incident commander I can tell you that having all the tools is critical to any operation, especially when dealing with the unknown. The threat of the unknown is something that an officer experiences every time they have contact with the public. Officers perform these acts and the public perceives them as routine, but I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that there is no such thing as a routine contact. The threat of the unknown is always present in the mind of every police officer during every interaction, and the officer is prepared to give their life for you without hesitation.
Many citizens never know what the police do to keep them safe, and they shouldn’t as that is the privilege of living in a free, democratic society. We as police know that most interactions with an officer usually result in a warning or a ticket, and we shoulder that abuse from the public, which we accept. But we are still prepared to run towards gunfire because that is our duty; that is our job.
Countless officers like Constable Woodall perform acts of heroism each day. For many, they do not even receive a simple thank you, and they don’t ask for it, because it’s what we do. It’s who we are. It’s what any hero would do. That is why I said on June 8, after the tragedy, that if you have an opportunity, please go out and say thank you to a police officer when you see one, not because they have asked but because they deserve it.
Mr. Speaker, we must always put the rights of victims of crime ahead of the rights of offenders. God bless you, Daniel. Thank you for your service.
On June 16, 2016, Mike Ellis brought awareness to police officer safety issues in Alberta:
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