For Jamie Allport, the on-duty death of Surrey RCMP Const. Adrian Oliver last week hit close to home.
The North Delta resident grew up knowing about the inherent dangers of policing. Her father was the partner of another Surrey Mountie to die on the job: Const. Roger Emile Pierlet.
Pierlet was 23 years old in March of 1974 when he was working an overnight patrol in Surrey. He was working his last shift before taking time off for his wedding.
He responded to a call of vandalism when he pulled over a car that was being driven erratically. Inside were two men, one of them a Langley man whose brother had died in a high-speed police chase just days earlier.
He was out to exact revenge for his brother, and he shot and killed Pierlet at point blank range.
“What most people don’t know is my dad switched posts with him (Pierlet),” said Allport of that tragic night.
Pierlet was having car trouble while patrolling near the Pattullo Bridge, and Allport’s father – Const. Warne Lynd – drove up from his post in Cloverdale to trade districts so Pierlet could get a different car in Cloverdale.
If that hadn’t happened, Allport said, the officer fatally shot could have been her dad.
“My whole family knows that story,” she told The Leader Tuesday. “We grew up with it.
“As a kid, you’re naive… you think you’re safe because your dad is a policeman. As you get older, you realize how dangerous the job is.”
It was out of a sense of respect and duty that Allport took her three-year-old son Travis to see the formal march prior to Oliver’s service at the Langley Events Centre Tuesday afternoon to pay respect to Const. Oliver.
She said Travis was in awe of the lines of uniformed emergency responders who marched prior to the 1 p.m. service. At one point, she noticed he had picked up a red maple leaf and was holding it as the procession passed by.
Allport said her heart sunk when she heard about the death of Oliver. She has several friends who are police officers and she herself works alongside Transit Police members.
“It’s definitely in my blood,” she said of the bond she feels with emergency workers. (Allport’s photos can be viewed above).
In addition to Oliver and Pierlet, three other Surrey Mounties have died in the line of duty since the federal force took over policing the city in 1951.
Const. John Brian Baldwinson died on Oct. 28, 1975 when his vehicle struck a horse.
Const. John Terrance Draginda perished in a car crash on Sept. 29, 1974.
And Const. Archille Octave Maxime Lepine died in following a motorcycle crash on July 15, 1962.