Turnout in the thousands expected at memorial for fallen Abbotsford officer

Turnout in the thousands expected at memorial for fallen Abbotsford officer

Const. John Davidson has been identified as the Abbotsford police officer who died in the line of duty Monday afternoon. (Abbotsford Police Department)

Const. John Davidson died in the line of duty on Nov. 6. (Abbotsford Police Department)

Officials estimate about 12,000 people — including 8,000 first responders — will attend a memorial for Const. John Davidson in Abbotsford, B.C. Sunday.

Police officers from across the country and the world will be in attendance and march in remembrance of their slain colleague.

Community members have recently come together to tie blue ribbons around light posts and trees, and to mourn at candlelight vigils surrounded by hundreds of cards flowers laid by others.

Some community members have even volunteered to host visiting mourners in their homes.

“It’s pretty important for us to come together as a family,” said Sgt. Judy Bird, spokeswoman for the Abbotsford Police Department. “Our family member was murdered. He deserves to be remembered.”

Davidson died on Nov. 6 in Abbotsford, after being shot when responding to reports of a stolen vehicle. He is survived by his wife and three adult children.

Oscar Arfmann, 65, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Davidson’s death.

Const. Davidson began his career with the Northumbria police in the United Kingdom in 1993, and eventually moved to B.C. in 2006, guided by a love for the outdoors, says Bird.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said he was not surprised by residents’ actions and said the response shows how much Davidson meant to the community.

“In the midst of grief and sadness of it all, the flip side of that coin is that we’re going to rejoice in the fact that this is an example of what it means to be an exceptional human being,” the mayor said.

Davidson was greatly involved in the community, working in the patrol, youth and traffic sections, and being involved with initiatives like the Cops for Cancer bike ride.

He came across as a kind of gruff, old-school policeman,” Bird said. “However, as soon as you started talking to him or peeled away that first layer, he was such a kind soul who would do anything for his community or for his fellow officers.”

With files from the Canadian Press 

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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