published in Grief by Maryanne | June 28, 2011

Const. Garrett Styles of the York Regional Police was killed in the line of duty today. From what I can gather from the media coverage, he was dragged to his death by a 15 year old unlicensed driver, after originally stopping the vehicle to ask some questions.

I hope there will be a lot more questions asked in the days and months to come. For Garrett’s death, in my humble opinion, is unacceptable.

Frankly, it infuriates me and breaks my heart.

I speak from the perspective of being a police widow myself – and it’s a pretty lousy club to be a member of.

Garrett was only 32.

So was my husband, John (a Calgary police officer) who passed away in the line of duty in Sept 2000.

Except that, in retrospect, I was blessed in that I didn’t have an individual person to blame – or focus my fury on.  By the sounds of it, Garrett’s wife, Melissa, won’t be so lucky.

Melissa works as a civilian with the same police service her husband did.

It was the same with John and I.

Thankfully, a police service – indeed the policing profession – is an extended family. After John’s death, the Calgary Police Service was there to support me. I know the York Regional Police Service will be there for Melissa as well…but at the end of the day, I know just hard it is to cry yourself to sleep night after night. No one can take away that hurt.

Garrett also leaves behind two young children, as well as many broken hearts and shattered lives. I do hope his tragic death also raises some questions as to why a 15 year old would drag, with his vehicle, a police officer 300 metres down the street …and what we, as a society, are going to do about that.

Dying in the line of duty is honourable, yes – but if we don’t question why tragedies such as this happen, then perhaps we are not fully honouring our fallen officers.

I wish Melissa and her little ones all the love and peace in my heart. But I know all too well the journey through hell she has just embarked upon…and if I could take that journey for her, so she wouldn’t have to, I would.

But grief doesn’t work that way.

And so instead I send my thoughts, prayers and condolences,

Maryanne Pope, one of far too many police widows

2 Comments

  1. Amanda Plunkett on June 28th, 2011 at 8:02 pm:

    Hi Maryanne, I am the oldest and only daughter of the last York Regional Police officer to be killed in the line of duty, Robert Plunkett. It was almost 4 years ago now. I read “A Widow’s Awakening” a few months ago and since then have followed your website. I believe we also spoke at the same conference (TEMA Conter, I spoke in February this year; it was my first conference). Hitting home with us as well – the time of morning (shortly after 5am) and also both vehicle related. The final sentencing of the man for my Dad is tomorrow and Garrett died today. One ends and another begins I kept thinking today. It shouldn’t happen and I completely agree with your words above. – Amanda

  2. Susie on June 28th, 2011 at 8:31 pm:

    This is beautiful, touching, and challenging Maryanne. Thank you for your voice. Love you!

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