SUMMERISDE – Earlier this year as Sue Hanlon and Ernie Burke were driving through Moncton they got pulled over by an RCMP officer.
The officer walked up to their window and asked them if they realized they’d run a red light.
They were mortified. They were lost, trying to find their way and must have unknowingly gone through the light.
They apologized profusely and the officer disappeared back to his cruiser for a few minutes.
When he returned to their window, he said he’d let them off with a warning and wished them a good day.
When news of the Moncton shootings of three RCMP officers broke last week that friendly officer was the first thing Hanlon thought of.
She has no idea whether or not he was one of the three who were killed in a rampage by a lone gunman through the New Brunswick city.
The thought that he might have been fills her with a profound sense of sadness, she said Friday.
“It’s a sad time in the Maritimes,” she said.
Burke and Hanlon were among a group of several people who came out to a special event at the Granville Street Tim Hortons on Friday.
Island businessman Danny Murphy invited all local police officers to stop by one of his various Tim Hortons franchises for a meet and greet with the public and a moment of silence.
Murphy said that following the recent deaths in Moncton, he felt the need to show a little homegrown support for Island police officers, who sometimes go underappreciated.
“We don’t thank them, I don’t think, enough for keeping our communities safe,” said Murphy.
The Summerside area RCMP were joined by their comrades in the Summerside and Kensington police forces for a coffee and more than a few handshakes and hugs.
Loretta Doucette brought her children out specifically to meet the officers and give them some cards of thanks.
She did it to help foster a sense of trust in her daughters for police officers, said Doucette.
“Just to show them to respect our police officers more and recognize them for the things they do. They’re saving our lives every day and we’re just not thankful enough for them,” she said.
Since the incident in Moncton, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support from the public towards the nation’s various police forces.
Even in a small town like Kensington, they’ve been feeling the love, said Kensington police officer Const. Joe Arsenault.
“Regardless of the stripe that’s on your pants we’re all one giant family… so I feel upset and moved by (the shootings), but the show of support was absolutely the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
All the support has been quite the sight, said Staff Sgt. Ken Spenceley, district commander of RCMP in Prince County.
“If you’re looking for any positives out of this, it gives us the opportunity … to have people tell you how much your service means to them. It’s something that in the day-to-day work that we do, we don’t always receive,” he said.