CALGARY — Police officers and military members lined the driveway of the Calgary police headquarters on Saturday while a pair of CF-18s flew past to honour an officer killed in the line of duty.
The funeral for Sgt. Andrew Harnett was held privately in another part of the city, and because of COVID-19 gathering restrictions there were no requests to line the route from the ceremony to the police station.
Still, some bystanders along the way appeared to know what was going on. At a bus stop, a couple stood beside a bench, the man with his right hand over his heart. And as the motorcade approached the turnoff for the police station, dozens of people watched from a pedestrian overpass.
Harnett died on New Year’s Eve after he was struck by a vehicle during a traffic stop. Two people have been charged with first-degree murder in his death.
The 37-year-old leaves behind his wife, Chelsea, who is to give birth to their first child in the summer.
Harnett was also a former member of the military police in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Officials said that due to COVID-19 restrictions only people who were invited could attend the 1 p.m. regimental funeral.
The Calgary Police Service was granted an exemption from Alberta Health to allow 50 people to take part in the ceremony, but the service said it came with a set of strict protocols and stringent oversight by health officials.
The funeral was not shared publicly at the request of the family, police said, but the procession was live-streamed.
Officers in regimental uniforms, including Mounties in Red Serge, wore masks and stood two metres apart on the sides of the police headquarters driveway, casting long shadows in the light of a winter afternoon.
Two cranes on either side of the driveway suspended a giant Canadian flag, and the officers saluted as the hearse slowly made its way towards the station and around the loop in front of the building before finally heading out again.
Two Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets from 410 Squadron at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta., roared past overhead.
The flypast was to pay respect to Harnett and honour his service and sacrifice in protecting Canadians and citizens of Calgary, both as a member of the Calgary police and a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Earlier this week, civilians and first responders also lined a Calgary thoroughfare as police vehicles escorted Harnett’s remains from the medical examiner’s office to a funeral home.
Harnett spent a dozen years with the Calgary Police Service and his family said he had been looking forward to becoming a father this summer.
A 17-year-old who police believe was driving the SUV on New Year’s Eve and an alleged passenger, 19-year-old Amir Abdulrahman, are charged with first-degree murder in Harnett’s death.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2021.
The Canadian Press