‘She would treat ev­ery­body with re­spect’

The Globe and Mail (Ottawa/Quebec Edition) - - FREDERICTON SHOOTING - With re­ports from Mike Hager, An­drea Woo, Vjosa Isai, Sunny Dhillon and The Cana­dian Press

In the mid­dle of rais­ing three boys, Sara Burns de­cided to go back to school and chase her dream of be­com­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer.

At 35, the Fred­er­ic­ton na­tive de­cided to get a crim­i­nol­ogy de­gree, and then leave her hus­band and sons for six months of in­ten­sive train­ing at the At­lantic Po­lice Academy in Prince Ed­ward Is­land.

The driven re­cruit ar­rived in 2015 with a ma­tu­rity that was un­com­mon among her 60 or so peers — most of whom were about 21 years old — and she was soon named the leader of the co­hort for that year, ac­cord­ing to Edgar Ma­cLeod, who re­tired in Jan­uary as the academy’s long-time ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor.

In an in­ter­view at the time with the Jour­nal Pi­o­neer, a lo­cal PEI news­pa­per, Ms. Burns ex­plained her rea­son­ing for join­ing law en­force­ment.

“[Polic­ing] is some­thing that I think chal­lenges you phys­i­cally, men­tally and so­cially; you need to be aware of those com­po­nents. It’s a re­ally chal­leng­ing field and to sur­vive you need to keep all of those in check,” she said.

“To do well, you ob­vi­ously need to main­tain a cer­tain stan­dard, and here at the school they pro­vide a lot of the the­ory and the skill to do that.”

Mr. McLeod, a for­mer pres­i­dent of the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Chiefs of Po­lice, re­mem­bered her as phys­i­cally ca­pa­ble and in pos­ses­sion of all the skills needed to en­force the law in dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions.

“But, be­yond that, we also want to train our po­lice of­fi­cers to be com- pas­sion­ate and un­der­stand­ing of peo­ple, be pa­tient with peo­ple – that sort of thing – and boy, she had that part down in spades,” he said. “You could tell she would treat ev­ery­body with re­spect, not a show­boat, she didn’t have an edge.”

On Fri­day, friends and col­leagues mourned Con­sta­ble Burns af­ter she and a fel­low of­fi­cer were killed in a quiet res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hood of Fred­er­ic­ton. Two civil­ians were also killed and a 48-year-old lo­cal man was in po­lice cus­tody on Fri­day evening with se­ri­ous in­juries.

In 2016, soon af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the academy, Con­sta­ble Burns was hired by her home­town force, of which she had been an aux­il­iary mem­ber.

Ear­lier this year, Con­sta­ble Burns nar­rowly missed be­ing struck by a knife that was thrown out the win­dow by a man at the scene of a do­mes­tic in­ci­dent, Fred­er­ic­ton news out­let The Daily Gleaner re­ported.


Fred­er­ic­ton Po­lice Con­sta­ble Sara Burns, 43, seen in a po­lice hand­out photo, was one of two po­lice of­fi­cers who were among four peo­ple killed in a shooting Fri­day morn­ing in the city’s north side.

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