Sacrifice Remembered

By Sara Faruqi, Toronto Police Service Published: 6 a.m. September 30, 2015

While standing at attention at the Canadian Police and Peace Officers’ Ceremony of Remembrance, Constable Laurie McCann was watching the family and friends of officers who had died in the line of duty in the audience.

A line of officers marching on a street
Toronto Police Officers march in parade towards Parliament Hill for the Memorial Service.

Twenty years earlier, she was sitting in the same place mourning the loss of a friend. 

McCann’s high school friend, Constable Todd Baylis, was shot and killed in 1994 while on duty, when McCann was applying to be a police officer. 

“I remember waking up from a call in the morning and being told Todd was shot… and I was thinking it’s not him, it’s not him,” recalls McCann, who knew that Todd, his father and his brother, Corey, were all in Florida. 

However, Baylis had returned early from his holiday, to work the evening shift, when he was shot attempting to arrest a suspect wanted for drug trafficking. 

Officers in a long queue marching with heads turned right towards the Hill
Toronto Police Officers in the March Past as the Memorial Service ends.

After Baylis passed away, McCann says she stopped applying to become a police officer and thought hard about what she wanted to do. 

“Watching his family go through with it, you start thinking, do you want your family to experience that?” says McCann. 

However, it was something she always wanted to do and, two years after Baylis’ death, she applied and was accepted. One of her references was Baylis’ father, Ted, who was a detective at 31 Division at the time.

A close up photo of a man in TPS uniform accompanied by following text: Constable Todd E. Baylis
On June 17, 1994, Constable Todd E. Baylis and his partner were conducting a walk-through of a building complex when they attempted to arrest a suspect who was wanted for drug trafficking. The suspect was found carrying a large amount of crack cocaine and a loaded handgun. The officers were in the process of chasing down the suspect when he fired back at Constable Baylis, hitting the officer in the head. Constable Baylis died in hospital.
Name: Todd E. Baylis
Badge: 114
Service: Metrpolitan Toronto Police, 12 Division
Rank: Constable
Date of Birth: January 28, 1969
Age: 25
Length of Service: 4 years
Date of Death: June 17, 1994
Constable Todd Baylis was shot and killed in 1994 trying to arrest a man wanted for drug trafficking

To honour Baylis’ memory, McCann wore his name on her armband as she participated in the  National Peace Officers Memorial Run from Toronto to Ottawa, before the Ceremony itself, which she has done for the last three years to honour Todd and every other officer who has died on duty. 

“It is amazing to have a ceremony to honour officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” says McCann. 

The point of the ceremony is to never forget those who have passed away.

PHOTO JOURNAL of Canadian Police and Peace Officers' Memorial

Inspector Suzanne Walsh says participating in the run lets you reflect before attending the ceremony. The Inspector, who ran 50 kilometres over the weekend to reach Ottawa, says that it is important for younger officers and those newer to the Service to attend as well. 

“It is important to attend and support and represent the policing profession and ensuring that those who have lost their lives in the line of duty are never forgotten. And we can show that by strength in numbers,” says the Inspector. Walsh adds that many officers in attendance will not be there in the future and would like to see junior officers fill in, when they’re gone, to continue the legacy. 

Pipe band members in different uniforms with instruments in hand, marching by the parliament building.
Pipe Band members from Services across the nation end the ceremony as the march past the headdresses of the Officers who died in the line of duty.

Chief Mark Saunders led Toronto officers alongside colleagues from across the country. 

Over 150 officers and TPS members participated this year, including Auxiliaries, the Pipe Band, Ceremonial Unit and Motor Squad members. 

This was the 39th Memorial Service in Ottawa, held on the last Sunday of September every year. The Government of Canada has proclaimed that Sunday to be Police and Peace Officers’ National Memorial Day, where, each year, over 5,000 members from law enforcement agencies participate. 

The four names engraved on to the Honour Roll this year were Constable Daniel Woodall of the Edmonton Police, Commercial Transport Enforcement Officer Toni Kristinsson of the Department of Transport and Infrastructure (British Columbia), Constable David Wynn of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Alberta) and Correctional Officer Rhonda Commodore of Manitoba Corrections. 

The back of an Saluting and wearing a uniform.
An officer stands to attention and salutes as the National Anthem is played at the Canadian Police and Peace Officers' Memorial Service at Parliament Hill.
A wide shot, parliament building in the background, in the foreground officers are marching in to line up
Officers from Police Services around Canada enter for the Memorial Service.
TPS crest watermark