The Abbotsford police officer who was killed in the line of duty on Monday has been identified by the department.
Const. John Davidson, 53, was a police officer for 24 years.
Abbotsford police say he began his law enforcement career in the United Kingdom working for the Northumbria Police from 1993 to 2005.
On March 3, 2006, he was hired by the Abbotsford Police Department after moving his family to B.C.
“All of them came out here to a place they knew nothing about, he wanted an outdoors life, he wanted to try something new, one of his kids said, ‘I think it was kind of a little early mid-life crisis’ but they all came and the family established themselves here and we were thrilled to have John Davidson join the Abbotsford Police Department,” said Chief Bob Rich.
Davidson worked in the department’s Patrol, Youth Squad and Traffic Sections.
“John became very concerned about the number of car crashes when he was in our community policing office, that was affecting young lives,” said Rich. “He did this school crash prevention program where he brought in a young girl who had lost her sister in a horrible car accident and they talked to all the kids in all the high schools about how they were going to handle their grad.”
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Recently Davidson completed the Tour de Valley Cops for Cancer ride.
“My last real opportunity to shake John’s hand happened on Sept. 29,” said Rich. Davidson had just completed the Tour de Valley ride.
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Rich said at the end of the ride, he thanked Davidson for his time and his dedication.
“He was thankful for the opportunity and it sort of really brings home who I want you to understand John Davidson to be,” added Rich.
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Davidson was also celebrated for his work in reducing the number of impaired drivers on the road.
He was part of “Alexa’s Team,” a program that recognizes dedicated police officers throughout B.C. who work to reduce the number of drivers on the road affected by alcohol or drugs.
The program is named for Alexa Middelaer, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2008 when she was four years old.
Twice, Davidson made the all-star Alexa Team where he took more than 25 people off the road each year in impaired investigations.
Davidson is survived by his wife and three adult children.
“John Davidson is my hero,” said Rich. “He’s this community’s hero.”
“We train our police officers, we ask our police officers that when somebody is putting people’s lives in danger, when there’s an active shooter, we no longer wait for cover, we no longer set up teams. The first person in, goes,” said Rich.
“John Davidson was the first person in and away he went. He died protecting you and me.”
Rich added that Davidson died doing what the department asked him to do.
“We honour John by looking after his family. We honour John by looking after each other and we honour John by protecting this community. And that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.
Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says he can’t imagine what Davidson’s wife and kids are going through.
“I have met this officer, yes,” he said. “I can’t imagine the grief and the pain and the sorrow. He left in the morning, well, whenever his shift began, I’m sure expecting to come home and hug his wife and, well I’m not sure if his adult children are at home, but that’s never going to happen again.”
“There’s going to be a huge void and we need to fill that void as a community and the policing community as well, they’re all gathering together. But it’s going to be some tough days ahead as we grapple with this.”
Const. Ian MacDonald, a public information officer with Abbotsford police, told Global News Tuesday the department has received a lot of support from other detachments.
“I just want to make sure we acknowledge and thank all the law enforcement partners who reached out to us,” said MacDonald. “Every department and every detachment reached out to us yesterday and many of those departments and detachments actually sent members out to augment our numbers while we were dealing with this very difficult incident and we appreciate that.”
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Flags outside schools across the Abbotsford School District will be flown at half-mast on Tuesday to honour Davidson, who worked as a school liaison officer in the district.
“The School Liaison Program is a key partnership between the Abbotsford School District and the Abbotsford Police Department,” the district stated in a release. “Liaison officers work with our staff to keep our students safe, build positive relationships between students, the community and the police department, and educate our students on prevention and awareness campaigns.
The Board of Education expresses its sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. Our hearts continue to be with the Abbotsford Police Department.”
Davidson was shot and killed Monday afternoon after responding to reports of a stolen car being sighted near the Fraser Valley Auto Mall.
Davidson was rushed to hospital but died shortly after from his injuries.
The suspect, a man in his 60s from Alberta, was also shot and injured. He has now been identified as Oscar Arfmann. He has now been charged with first-degree murder.
“We have lost John,” said Rich. “We will lose no one else.”