Orillia bridge officially dedicated to fallen OPP officer

OPP Const. George Bennett was killed while on duty in Orillia in 1980. Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press/File

A bridge in Orillia was officially dedicated to a fallen OPP constable June 21.

The bridge located on Highway 11 in Orillia, was dedicated in honour of Const. George Bennett, who was killed while on duty in 1980.

Const. Bennett first joined the OPP in 1975, and was posted to the Brechin Detachment before transferring to Orillia.

On Feb. 12, 1980, Const. Bennett was out on snowmobile patrol when his vehicle struck a rock, throwing him from the snowmobile. Sadly he succumbed to his injuries later that day.

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Now 38 years later, memorial signs in his honour have been posted on either side of Highway 11 and on the Burnside Line and West Street overpass in both directions.

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“It is very gratifying for his family, friends and members of the OPP that Constable Bennett be remembered with this honour,” said Ontario Provincial Police commissioner J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes in a statement. “This bridge memorial serves as a reminder of his life and his service.”

In 2002, the province began allowing highway structures and bridges to be dedicated in memory of fallen police officers. There are now 59 bridges dedicated to fallen officers across Ontario.

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