Few people who rely on SkyTrain for a safe trip to work, school or shopping did not wake up Thursday morning unconcerned about how their daily commute would play out, after Transit Police Constable Josh Harms, 27, was shot twice in his arm on the deck of Scott Road SkyTrain Station while on duty late Wednesday afternoon.
We often take for granted the safety we enjoy on transit and in other public places – a safety guarded by police officers who sometimes find themselves at considerable personal risk. Long after this dramatic news of Harms’ injury drops from view as the next police incident, political scandal or breaking news catches the public’s eye, this young constable will still be living with the trauma.
As Transit Police spokeswoman Anne Drennan told us at press time, “he definitely has a road ahead of him.”
This young constable is the first Transit Police officer to have been shot since the force was formed in 2005.
He is not the first police officer, however, to be shot in Surrey while on duty.
Surrey RCMP Constable Roger Pierlet, from Montreal, was shot dead on March 29, 1974, while working what was supposed to be his last shift before he was to get married, after stopping a car in Cloverdale.
The two killers were originally sentenced to death, but these were commuted to life sentences after capital punishment was abolished in Canada in 1976. An overpass in Cloverdale is named after Pierlet, in his honour.
There is a monument outside the Surrey RCMP detachment entrance, honouring the memory of Pierlet and four other Surrey Mounties – Constables Terry Draginda, John Baldwinson, Archie Lapine and Adrian Oliver – who were killed under various circumstances.
As police investigate this latest shooting, about which we still have much to learn, let’s be thankful we have dedicated men and women in the Transit Police and Surrey RCMP who sometimes find themselves in danger’s way as they work to protect us.