Calgary police group says family of slain officer not alone in grief

While they may not be able to physically offer a hug or a shoulder to cry on, a group of Calgarians are doing everything they can to make sure the wife of an officer killed in the line of duty knows she’s not alone in her grief.

Sgt. Andrew Harnett was hit and dragged down the street by a vehicle he’d pulled over on New Year’s Eve. Sources told Global News Harnett and his wife are expecting a child.

Read more: ‘An outstanding person’: Calgary police officer killed during New Year’s Eve traffic stop

Tara Ernst, who runs the group Beyond the Blue which supports the spouses and families of police officers, visited a makeshift memorial site set up in Harnett’s memory at the place he was struck, and said the officer’s death has been an “unimaginable” start to the new year.

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“It’s been a tough morning and a tough evening,” she said.

“The community piece right now is huge.

“It’s just something that sometimes only cop families can really understand — what we’re doing and what we’re going through.”

Ernst said it’s a “fragile” time for families of officers who put their lives on the line every day when they go to work.

“It’s a call that none of us want to hear or get,” she said.

Tara Ernst, with the organization Beyond the Blue, said the community wants to show its support for the family of Sgt. Andrew Harnett.
Tara Ernst, with the organization Beyond the Blue, said the community wants to show its support for the family of Sgt. Andrew Harnett. Global News

“We’re all just trying to navigate how we can help at this point with Sgt. Harnett’s family. We’re all just kind of doing our best right now to get through the day.

“We’re here for her and she doesn’t have to do this alone. We’re definitely going to rally behind her and give her as much resources as we can.”

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Read more: Teens wanted for murder of Calgary police officer turn themselves in

Ernst said the group felt they wanted to do something to show their support to both the Harnett family, and the community that’s been shaken by the tragedy. They’re tying blue ribbons to trees in neighbourhoods across the city in memory of the fallen officer.

“Unfortunately, he’ll probably not get the funeral that he deserves,” she said. “And so this is a way to show our support for all the officers that are putting themselves on the line every day.”

Two teens are wanted on arrest warrants for first-degree murder in relation to Harnett’s death.

Click to play video 'Calgary mayor says his heart is with family of officer killed during traffic stop on New Years Eve, thanks police for all their efforts' Calgary mayor says his heart is with family of officer killed during traffic stop on New Years Eve, thanks police for all their efforts

Calgary mayor says his heart is with family of officer killed during traffic stop on New Years Eve, thanks police for all their efforts

— With files from Global News’ Jill Croteau

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