Thousands of officers from police services across Ontario attended BMO Field to pay tribute to Toronto Police Det. Const. Jeffrey Northrup, a 31-year veteran with the service and a father of three who died in the line of duty earlier in July.
“Jeff had two families. I never doubted his love and dedication to myself or our children. Everything he did was for us. We worked as a couple in a team to raise our children to love, respect and have empathy to everyone who crossed their paths in life,” Margaret Northrup, Jeffrey Northrup’s wife, told approximately 3,500 officers and dignitaries gathered at the downtown stadium Monday afternoon.
“Jeff’s second family was his police family. As a court officer to police constable, he was always proud to wear and serve the uniform and badge. He absolutely loved his work — ridiculously so — and the people he worked with.
“Just like our personal family unit, he believed that a goal, a task, a workday was accomplished by sharing the load and drawing on the different strengths that each team member had. I ask that you continue to thrive and support each other.”
During her comments, Margaret addressed the couple’s three children.
“Brennen, Samantha, Mitchell, your daddy loves you all so much. He was proud of your dreams, goals and accomplishments. He would want you to continue loving and experiencing life to the fullest,” she said, before reflecting on her and Jeffrey’s 28 years together.
“You were my knight, my strength, my confidante and my best friend. We were so in sync with each other. I am lost without you, however, I will remain strong with you still in my heart and by my side. I promise to protect and love our beautiful children fiercely with all my being. Goodbye, my love.”
The two-hour funeral service followed a procession along Lake Shore Boulevard West and into the Exhibition Place grounds. Officers lined Princes’ Boulevard as the procession approached BMO Field, accompanied by a marching band and mounted unit officers.
Premier Doug Ford, Mayor John Tory and Toronto Police Services Board chair Jim Hart were among the officials in attendance.
It was during the early hours of July 2 when Jeffrey, along with his partner, were working downtown as part of the service’s Canada Day response when they were dispatched to the parking garage at Toronto city hall for a “priority call” initially classified as a robbery call but that was upgraded to a stabbing.
There was some sort of interaction involving a suspect when Jeffrey became injured. He was rushed to a downtown hospital and was subsequently pronounced dead.
Interim Toronto Police Chief James Ramer described the incident as an “intentional, deliberate attack.” A 31-year-old man was later charged with first-degree murder.
During his comments on Monday, Ramer reflected on how Jeffrey’s death serves as a grave reminder for officers and their families.
“As a police officer, there is no greater burden and no greater honour than to bear witness to the bravery of a fallen officer lost in service to our city,” he said.
“Taking an oath to serve and protect our communities is among the highest callings of public service, but putting the safety of others above our own can come at a terrible cost. This is something we accept, but never expect.”
Ramer said Jeffrey loved his job and did so with “diligence and dedication.”
“But knowing that he died doing the job he loved doesn’t make his death any less tragic. It doesn’t make the pain of his sudden loss any easier to bear not to the city, not to his colleagues at 52 Division, not for his major crime unit partners and especially not for his family,” he said.
Tory, who attended 52 Division hours after Jeffrey’s death, extended his condolences on behalf of all Torontonians and extended his thoughts to those officers impacted by Jeffrey’s death.
“It is said courage can’t see around corners but goes around them anyway,” he said.
“And many of us have certainly come to understand much better that answering a so-called routine call can end up in a place that is anything but routine and in a senseless moment can strike to the heart of a wonderful family and deal a blow to the entire police family as is the case of the loss of Jeff Northrup.”