Slain cop remembered as dedicated, funny

The Canadian Press
Gemma Karstens-Smith

ABBOTSFORD, B.C.–An Abbotsford, B.C. police constable killed in the line of duty was remembered yesterday as dedicated and caring, a man who had a gut-busting sense of humour and a dislike for guns.
Thousands of officers and first responders jammed into Abbotsford Centre while members of the public filed into spill-over centres for the celebration of life for 53-year-old Cst. John Davidson.
His police partner, Cst. Renae Williams, described Davidson as a man with a sense of humour who took far longer to get coffees because staff at the coffee shop couldn’t understand his thick Scottish accent.
“He could take it as well as he could dish it out, and did more than his fair share of doling out playful barbs,” Williams recalled.
“Most of his comebacks included the line, ‘Well back in the U.K. we did this.'”
Davidson got his start in policing in Northumbria in the United Kingdom in 1993, where few police officers carry guns.
He moved to Canada in 2006 and had worked in the Abbotsford department for 11 years.
He had a gift of gab, was respectful and civil to the public, level-headed, and believed there were lessons to be passed on with each traffic stop, Williams told the service.
“He was tough but more than fair,” Williams said.
“That was evident by the number of people I have seen shake his hand after getting a ticket.”
Williams said Davidson pushed himself to be first, whether it was during a workout or in trying to help others.
“Which is exactly what happened on Nov. 6, 2017,” she said, her voice cracking with emotion.
“For a man who hated guns and never became comfortable carrying a gun after coming over from the U.K., he was one of the first to step in and intervene when a call of shots fired came in,” she noted.
Before the ceremony, hundreds of people lined the streets of Abbotsford in the pouring rain to watch thousands of first responders march behind the hearse carrying Davidson’s coffin.
Police officers from as far as Ontario and the U.K. joined the procession, marching in a unified sea of blue and red uniforms.
The crowd inside the area was silent as eight of Davidson’s fellow officers carried in his coffin.
His service belt, and both his police hats from Abbotsford and Northumbria, were placed atop his coffin, draped in a Canadian flag.
A suspect, Alberta resident Oscar Arfmann, 65, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Davidson’s death.
He is scheduled to appear in court again Nov. 28.
Davidson is survived by his wife, Denise, and three adult children, Dina, Fay, and Drew.
Dina Davidson told the service that their father was modest and never mentioned his accomplishments.
She said they didn’t recognize the man others were describing after his death.
“He never let us know any of that,” she said, laughing.


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