We may never have known John Davidson in person.
We may never have met the Abbotsford police constable – shot and killed in the line of duty Monday – or experienced the benefit of all the valuable hats he wore in his community.
We might never have seen the 24-year police veteran – who started his law enforcement career in Northumbria in the U.K. – participating in the Tour de Valley Cops for Cancer ride, or making notable gains investigating impaired drivers as part of ‘Alexa’s Team’, or working to develop the road safety portion of a program to help youth at risk, or acting as a school liaison or winning a provincial crime prevention award for collaborating on an awareness video for youth.
We may never have seen the family man who raised three adult children.
But we can feel the impact of his passing just the same, and share with family, friends, colleagues and all those whose lives he touched, in grieving his loss.
It’s clear he put community first – even ahead of his own safety.
We know the ripple effects for good that such an exemplary individual can have in a community – any community. It’s likely that we each have encountered someone who was cut from similar cloth, particularly in such high risk occupations as policing, firefighting, emergency response or search and rescue.
While those who knew him best struggle to find some sense in his tragic passing – he was shot when a man in a suspected stolen vehicle in a shopping centre parking lot opened fire on officers and passersby with a shotgun – the sense is there for all of us to see.
Davidson was there because his occupation and his principles and his sense of duty mandated it. He knew that he was the first line of defense for people in his community when ordinary rules broke down and violence broke out. He knew that it was his responsibility to step forward in the greater cause of keeping the peace and maintaining public safety.
And Davidson knew he was not alone – that, no matter what happened to him, others would step up to neutralize the threat and apprehend the suspect.
It is for us all to realize that he was not alone, that other John Davidsons are there through all of our communities, ready to do what needs to be done, and, if necessary make the ultimate sacrifice.