A full regimental funeral in Moncton for a Maritime RCMP officer who was killed in a collision last week is being open to the public.
The service for Const. Francis Deschênes will take place at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
Deschênes was killed on Sept. 12 when a van collided with his police car after he had stopped to help motorists change a tire on the side of a New Brunswick highway.
The 12-year veteran of the force was on duty with Northwest Traffic Services, based in Amherst, N.S., when the collision happened.
RCMP say they are inviting the public to join Deschênes’ family and the law enforcement community as they celebrate his service and mourn his death.
On Tuesday, members were planning and rehearsing the protocol associated with a regimental funeral.
“This is a period of time where they’re exhausted, they’re emotional,” said Cpl. Jennifer Clarke, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia RCMP.
“They’re just trying very hard to do justice to Const. Deschênes as we say goodbye to him, so they’re trying very hard to make sure we get all the arrangements done properly.”
Road closures in the area around the church, located at 43 Botsford St., will begin at 10 a.m. on Sept. 20. RCMP say the closures are to ensure the safety of first responders marching in the procession, as well as the safety of those in two overflow locations.
The procession of uniformed law enforcement will start at 1 p.m. — marching eastward along Assomption Boulevard, turning left on Downing Street, before crossing Main Street onto Botsford Street towards the church.
The public is encouraged to gather along the route to show their support.
Uniformed law enforcement members who wish to march in the procession are asked to park at the Moncton Coliseum by noon so they can be transported by bus to the muster point.
“There will be officers, I expect, from across Canada. Even involved in the planning process, we have police officers (…) representing areas all across the country,” Clarke said.
A service will begin at 2 p.m., however, the public is asked to be seated at the venue by 1:45 p.m. because there will be limited seating.
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Condolences and support
The Nova Scotia RCMP say they have been humbled by the outpouring of support since Deschênes’ death.
“The Nova Scotia RCMP would like to express our appreciation for the amount of support, kind gestures, thoughtful notes and emails,” RCMP said in a statement.
“We have listened to and read messages of appreciation and words of shared grief from the public, law enforcement and emergency service provider partners from around the world as well as municipal partners and local businesses.”
The public is invited to leave messages of condolence to Deschênes’ family by emailing RCMP.Condolences-Condoleances.GRC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.