Ambrose Redmoon wrote, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.  The timid presume it is lack of fear that allows the brave to act when the timid do not. But to take action when one is not afraid is easy. To refrain when afraid is also easy. To take action regardless of fear is brave.”

Today, Toronto saw the largest police funeral in the city’s history. Sergeant Ryan Russell, aged 35, was on patrol last week when he was killed by the driver of a stolen snowplough. Sgt. Russell was a husband and a father to a two year old son. This sad death leaves a hole in a family and a sense of loss to the entire policing community. People from coast to coast seem moved by this terrible act of violence. Many acts of love and support have been shown to Sgt. Russell’s family over this past week.

One of the most heart-warming scenes is the outpouring of support from the policing communities from across the continent. As EMS Chaplain here in Windsor-Essex I was in attendance for the funeral of Windsor Police Constable John Atkinson in 2006. He was shot down while trying to atop a drug deal. I still remember how incredibly moving it was to see so many uniforms from so many places. The sense of loss stretched well beyond Windsor Police Services. The love shown by the policing community and indeed from Fire and EMS, was a great sense of comfort to the family. The sense of loss for Sergeant Russell also has gone well beyond the Toronto police Service.

Martin Luther King’s birthday was marked this week as well. King once preached, “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” Our communities are kept safe because we have people who are prepared to act regardless of fear. We are served by people who put their lives on the line. We take our police services for granted.  We are fortunate in Tecumseh to have the dedicated officers of the OPP keeping us safe. Our neighbouring municipalities of Lakeshore and Essex also enjoy the benefit of being served by the OPP. The City of Windsor is kept safe daily because of the courage of the officers of its own police service. When we see police we too often only think about the annoyance of a traffic infraction that we may have incurred (I speak from much experience here). How many of us have taken the opportunity to thank the police for what they do – even if our opportunity comes as a result of our excessive speed? I am taking this opportunity as a resident of Tecumseh to thank our OPP officers for their stellar service and for being prepared to act for our safety even when it means their own safety is put at risk.  I am encouraging our readers to take the next opportunity you get to thank our Tecumseh OPP (or other Police Service). It is a small price to pay for those who risk so much.