The officer in charge of the Kings RCMP wants the community to know how grateful she is for their support after the shooting deaths of three police officers in Moncton earlier this month.
“We’re just in awe of the support that we’re getting. We’re really feeling the respect of the citizens of Kings County,” Insp. Chris MacNaughton said. Gifts, cards and flowers are still arriving at the Kingston, Wolfville and New Minas detachments.
“Students from various schools in Kings County have taken the time – each student - to make homemade cards,” she said, adding junior and high school students also baked for the officers and staff.
“One lady made a gorgeous cushion for one of our chairs,” MacNaughton said.
“We do admire each and every gift. When we see (people) coming from their cars with gifts, we have them come into the office and we talk with them.”
Officers and employees at the detachments are touched by the public support, she said.
“(We’re) at times very emotional over the response we’ve received.”
From the gifts and cards to the two teenagers who raised funds for the Fallen Members fund to the New Minas church that opened its doors to RCMP members during the broadcast of the funeral, MacNaughton said the response is “overwhelming and appreciated.
“You feel a lot,” she said of the shootings and the community response, “but you’re just speechless.”
Espirit de Corps
“When it comes to tragedies, the camaraderie comes through very, very strong,” MacNaughton said of the Mounties.
After the June 4 shootings, three local officers - constables Andy McLellan, Mirko Marcovic and Nick McLean – headed to New Brunswick to help out. The trio helped search for the suspect, for evidence after his arrest and served policing shifts relief for the Codiac RCMP officers who were all given leave for two weeks after the deaths of their colleagues.
“My first impression from speaking with them is that they were very pleased to have gone over there to help their colleagues,” MacNaughton said.
“They felt very fortunate that they had the opportunity to go and to help,” she said, during “a very difficult time for our colleagues there and the citizens of Moncton.”
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“Including myself, we had approximately 35 RCMP officers from Kings District who went on their own time. We were present,” MacNaughton said.
“We go above and beyond to be there at regimental funerals. It’s support… This could happen here in Kings District. It’s devastating to us and our colleagues. We have very heartfelt emotions and we want to be there for our fallen colleagues and their families.”
A time of reflection
Kings RCMP officers won’t change how they respond to calls, MacNaughton said.
“Our officers are always cognizant of public safety and officer safety… we have very strong supports so that we have the right equipment.”
However, it is a time of reflection for officers and their families, she said.
“We respect the fact that we’re in a very high risk job; our Mounties, when they leave their homes, they might not come back if they go to an unfortunate call (like the one) that these three fallen members went to in Moncton,” she said.
“Our Mounties and our employees, this has affected them greatly.”
In light of this, it isn’t just flowers and cookies that are gracing the tables of the New Minas RCMP detachment.
“We also have three candles in the office with the pictures and the condolence books,” MacNaughton said. “We don’t want this to fade away quickly. We want to keep the time of reflection for our employees right now.
“We hope this tragedy never happens again.”
Insp. MacNaughton’s message:
To all the citizens and students of Kings County,
These past weeks have been very difficult for our three fallen RCMP members' families, our colleagues in J Division (New Brunswick) and for many employees of RCMP Kings District who have been reflecting with many deep heartfelt emotions of this tragedy.
Kings County citizens, partners and students from many local schools have been incredibly generous sending notes of condolences and flowers, and dropping off many thoughtful small tokens of appreciation to our RCMP offices in Kingston, New Minas and Wolfville. Our RCMP officers have been taking solemn time to read each card received and admiring the beautiful flowers, which were thoughtfully placed at the base of our Canadian flags. The outpouring of your kinds words and support has truly been overwhelming. Of the many messages received, one student stated "thank you for making a safe community to live in and putting your lives at risk everyday".
It is now the time for healing for our fallen RCMP members' families and all our employees. On behalf of everyone in RCMP Kings District, I wish to sincerely thank all citizens of Kings County for your deep compassion and support during this extremely difficult time.