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Thousands expected at funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Last Updated Nov 17, 2017 at 7:21 am PDT

(Source: abbypd.ca)

'He was valued to us as our brother,' says Abbotsford Police Sgt. Judy Bird ahead of funeral for Cst. John Davidson

Up to 12,000 people are expected to attend Sunday's service for fallen Abbotsford Police Cst. John Davidson

Members of the public invited to line the funeral procession route in Abbotsford on Sunday for Cst. John Davidson

ABBOTSFORD (NEWS 1130) – Sunday will an emotional day for thousands of people in Abbotsford.

The funeral for Cst. John Davidson, the fallen Abbotsford Police officer who killed in the line of duty last week, is expected to be so well attended, two overflow sites are being set up to accommodate everyone.

The service is being called a “celebration of life” by both Davidson’s former colleagues as well as his family and will draw first responders from all over to the Abbotsford Centre.

But it is the number of everyday people expected that came as somewhat of a surprise, says Sgt. Judy Bird.

“Due to the response from the public that we’ve had in the last week, we realized that we need to heal as a community and make sure that our community is involved which is why we’ve added two satellite locations. Both of these buildings will be open at 11 a.m. for the public to find a seat,” says Abbotsford Police Sgt. Judy Bird.

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A procession will step off southbound on McCallum Road, then turn east on King Road to the Abbotsford Centre, where the celebration of life will take place.

“The procession will start at approximately 11:30 a.m. Emergency services will lead the procession to the Abbotsford Centre, estimating that the celebration of life will start at approximately 1pm. We are expecting to hear from the premier and the family of Cst. Davidson as well as some of his close friends.”

The show of public support for Davidson, an 11-year veteran of the department, has really moved the force. Up to 12,000 people are expected to attend Sunday’s service.

“It’s really overwhelming for us to see the acts of support from our community, as well as well as making sure that this event is something spectacular for us to celebrate John and that ultimate sacrifice that he made for all of us and just make it really special for the family as well,” explains Bird.

She says Davidson, who was killed during a shootout at a strip mall, was different.

“John brought a… ‘normal face’ to policing. He really connected with people and I think that for us, it’s really important for us to continue that legacy and really reach out to our community, include them and help each other like John would have wanted us to,” says Bird.

“He was valued to us as our brother. We know the support we have from our law enforcement brothers and sisters as well as emergency services that support us every day. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to know that we come together to celebrate the sacrifice that he made for us, which is his life, to protect our community. It’s very grounding.”

Members of the public are invited to line the procession route along McCallum Road and King Road (see map below).

The Abbotsford Centre won’t open to the public until all first responders are settled inside and seating will be subject to availability.

The University of the Fraser Valley Athletic Centre and the Central Heights Church will serve as the two satellite locations.

Last Thursday, first responders and members of the general public lined streets from Vancouver to Abbotsford, as Davidson’s body was transferred from VGH to a funeral home.

An emotional candlelight vigil was held on Monday, a week after he was killed in the line of duty.

Davidson was shot to death in Abbotsford as police tracked down a suspect linked to reports of a stolen vehicle.

Anyone who wants to share their thoughts and condolences with Davidson’s family can send emails to apdhero386@gmail.com.

Funeral Procession Open Routes