Inspector Pauline Gray was among many first time runners joining a contingent of Toronto Police and other law enforcement members running for the first time to pay tribute to fallen officers and raise money to help others.
The veteran officer is among the those completing the 460-km National Peace Officers Memorial Run (NPMOR) from Toronto to Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Gray was among 41 Toronto Police Service members who left the city on September 21 to complete the relay run over two days to the Canadian capital, where the Police and Peace Officers Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, Sept. 24.
“This is something I have always wanted to do but, given my previous assignments including the time I spent in Homicide, I could never plan to do it,” said Gray, who heads Sex Crimes.
She worked with Constables Todd Baylis and Bill Hancox who were killed in the line of duty.
“I am doing this for them and every officer everywhere who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Gray. “We are all family and it doesn’t matter which Service you were from.”
The memorial run was launched in 2005 to create awareness of the police and peace officers memorial service in Ottawa on the last Sunday of September, and to raise money for trust funds and memorials established in memory of police officers who have died in the line of duty.
Nearly $300,000 in donations have been made since the run started with 24 Peel Regional Police participants.
Detective Liam Wauchope of the Integrated Gun & Gang Task Force joined his wife on the run for the first time. Lindsay Newlove, of York Regional Police Service, has done the run to Ottawa the last eight years. Prior to that, she did the first 20 kilometres of the run.
Wauchope, who joined the Service 16 years ago, shared a desk with Sergeant Ryan Russell, who died in the line of duty six years ago.
“It hits home for me and I think now is the right time for me to do this run,” he said.
Though retired since 2014, after 33 years on the job, Tom Hartford still enjoys coming back to do the run.
“This is a great opportunity to come back and remember my fallen brothers and sisters,” he said.
The Toronto Police participants in this year’s memorial run wore armbands with the names of fallen TPS officers who have been carved into the granite wall of honour at the Ontario Police Memorial.
“This run reminds us of the dangers officers encounter in the line of duty,” said Marie France Lalonde, the province’s Minister of Community Safety & Correctional Services. “Because of them, our communities are safer and stronger and, for that, the people of Ontario are forever indebted to them and their families.”
Waterloo Regional Police Service Chief Bryan Larkin, president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, thanked the organizers and participants for memorializing the fallen officers.
“Thank you for incredible commitment to bring the legacy of the incredible people behind us on the wall who paid the ultimate sacrifice and put duty above self,” he said.