Prime Time Crime


(Prime Time Crime exclusive Nov  7, 2017)


The Bond 

John Davidson


By Bob Cooper

All of us who have worked in law enforcement know the risks involved and what we were getting into from the day we raised our right hands and took the oath but none of that can prepare you for the unthinkable.  Policing is a brotherhood like few others and when it happens, no matter where, we all feel the loss.

I didnít know Abbotsford Police Constable John Davidson.  After serving as a policeman in the UK he joined the Abbotsford Police Department in 2006 the year I retired.  For my out of Province readers, Abbotsford is a rural community in the Fraser Valley about an hour East of Vancouver.  Yesterday was a brilliant sunny morning.  I began hearing traffic reports about a major intersection in Abbotsford being sealed off due to a police incident.  Then my phone began buzzing with texts and e-mails saying 2 cops had been shot.  Shortly after came the confirmation of Const. Davidsonís death along with a steady stream of messages from former colleagues expressing sorrow and sadness and thoughts of his family.  Most of them never knew Const. Davidson either. 

Twenty-four hours later, it appears that Const. Davidsonís death was as senseless as it was tragic but like so many horrible events it brought out the very best in a lot of people.  Smaller communities know their police officers personally, value them, and tend not to take them for granted.  Right after the news broke, ordinary citizens began arriving at the Abbotsford Police station laying bouquets of flowers at the front doors.  This was followed by more citizens showing up with food and urns of coffee knowing that the Abbotsford Police would be working long hours despite their grief.  Itís just something you donít see in big impersonal cities.


The news media were very respectful in their coverage and you could see shock and sadness on the faces of reporters most of whom interact with police officers on a daily basis and some of whom have family and friends in law enforcement.  When they filmed the escort of Const. Davidsonís body along Highway 1 several retired cops told me they were moved to tears.


Similarly, the brotherhood responded in a huge way.  Cops from all over the Lower Mainland volunteered to go to Abbotsford and take over patrol duties and guarding the scene to relieve the Abbotsford officers and allow them to look after Const. Davidsonís family and each other.  A friend of mine remarked that it was great to see that the bond was still there.  It made me recall that when 4 Mounties were slain in Mayerthorpe Alberta in March 2005, a group of us went to Deputy Chief Doug Lepard in charge of Detectives and volunteered to put uniforms on and perform patrol duties in some of the RCMP Detachments surrounding Vancouver so members who wished to travel to Alberta for the funerals could do so.  The RCMP expressed their thanks but politely declined.  I imagine that someone thought better of turning their shops over to a bunch of computer-illiterate, paper & foolscap detectives and the months it would take to unscramble their paperwork not to mention civil suits arising from enforcement of laws that had been repealed years before.


Last but certainly not least was the strong leadership shown by Chief Constable Bob Rich who delivered the news of Const. Davidsonís death to his wife in person.  Iíve delivered that news to a lot of people but I canít imagine what it was like to do that.  Immediately afterwards he also knew that the community needed to hear from him and went in front of the cameras praising Const. Davidson and his fellow officers as heroes for the way they responded and did so with a composure that was unbelievable.  Bob retired from the Vancouver Police as a Deputy Chief to become the Chief of Abbotsford.  Iíve always had a lot of time and a ton of respect for him.  While in the ranks he was very active in the Executive of the Vancouver Police Union.  You know youíve done a good job in the Union when they make you an Officer.  Possessed of a dry sense of humor he was also very thoughtful, fair, and a thoroughly decent man.  If anything ever happened to me I can think of few people Iíd rather have deliver the news to my wife.


This morning, after what I imagine was a pretty sleepless night Bob addressed a news conference with updates on the investigation and then spoke at length about Const. Davidson and the work he had done in the community, particularly with young people, the awards heíd won and how well-respected he was.  When he was finished you felt like you knew Const. Davidson.  He then remarked that the men and women of the Abbotsford Police Department would honor Const. Davidsonís memory by going back to work and looking after each other.


Constable John Davidson would be very proud of all of it.  May he rest in peace.



Video: Honor Guard escorts fallen officer

Video: First responders salute fallen officer

Awesome dude

Officer known for work with kids and spirit of giving


Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.

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