Each time a police officer is murdered, it brings back many memories for me. It takes me back over forty years ago to a January day in 1980. Back then we didn’t have 24-hour news the way we do now. We mostly depended on the radio for up to date information. We also had a morning or afternoon newspaper, and news was reported on the TV at certain times of the day.

As was usual, I had the six o’clock morning news on when I woke up. The first thing I heard was that an OPP officer in Delhi, Ontario had been gunned down on the street. Then I heard his name. It was a friend from my youth, Duncan. It seems to me that I waited for fifteen minutes for the next news to make sure I had heard correctly. I had. He was the son of one of my Mam’s best friends. I had to call my parents because I didn’t want my Dad to hear it on the news as he drove to work. It wasn’t a particular easy thing to do.

Duncan’s picture was on all the front pages There was a picture of his wife and three sons on at least one of the publications, and there was a police funeral in his honour. His mother was left without a son, his wife without a husband, three boys without their father, and a brother and sister with a hole in their families.. A Beaver group was left without one of their leaders. Many people lost a friend.

After a police funeral, things go quiet for most of us. The family is left to try to get back to a normal life. As a friend, memories came back. With Mam and Duncan’s Mom being friends at work, our families became friends too. We spent time together. We often stopped in to visit them on Christmas Day on our way to a family gathering in Toronto. Our families had camped together. Duncan was a month younger than myself. I can remember sitting out at night while we camped just talking. I’m sure we probably set the world right. My sister and I went to parties thrown by Duncan and his sister. I know we met a lot of their friends and had good times with them.

As we got older we didn’t see them much. We worked and started to raise families. We heard about what Duncan and his siblings were doing every so often through Mam. Duncan was an OPP officer living in New Delhi. We heard updates as his sons were born. The last time we saw him was at a wedding. He was so happy to have become a member of the OPP. Little did we know that it would be the last time we saw him.

I have a few pictures of Duncan. He took me to my graduation formal. He looks so young in the pictures That is the way I remember him. I wish he was still here getting old and grey like the rest of us.

 The person who killed him was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

About the Author

Bryen writes about local Durham community news, including regional events, municipality updates, entertainment, lifestyle, and the great outdoors. Email him directly if you want your business profiled or know a community member that deserves recognition - bryen@thelocalbizmagazine.com