OPP honour those who died because of duty

(Photo courtesy of the Ontario Provincial Police)

A memorial honouring the lives of Ontario Provincial Police officers who have died by suicide is now complete.

The memorial is outside the OPP General Headquarters in Orillia, where anyone can visit quietly and with privacy.

The OPP will also recognize those members with a wall of engraved plaques inside the headquarters building.

(Photo courtesy of the Ontario Provincial Police)

(Photo courtesy of the Ontario Provincial Police)

The OPP said the memorial and wall recognizes that while these officers did not die in the line of duty, the difficulties they experienced leading to their deaths are those faced on the job. The distinction is called “because of death duty.”

Historically, the OPP has not tracked deaths by suicide. Records regarding how many officers have been lost to death because of duty since 1909 are limited. Some families may not want their family member’s name included on the memorial wall, so the list will not be complete.

“After speaking with families of officers who had died by suicide, it was evident that we needed a way to recognize and remember the significant contribution these officers made to our communities,” said OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique. “This memorial is a testament to our members’ dedication to duty each and every day. It’s a testament to those who tragically died by suicide but served our organization, our communities, and our province with pride, professionalism, and honour.”

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones added police personnel are among the professionals most likely to be exposed to occupational stress.

“They often put themselves in harm’s way and experience incidents that most of us never have to face,” she said.