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Female RCMP officer giving two thumb's up while standing in front of a police cruiser with a building and ambulances in the background.

Sirens blare to thank healthcare workers, Canadians

RCMP officers, other first responders and members of the public are showing healthcare workers on the frontline of COVID-19 their thanks with parades and spontaneous displays of appreciation across Canada. Credit: RCMP


RCMP officers across Canada have been thanking healthcare workers and even stuck-at-home families for doing their part to fight the spread of COVID-19.

"The doctors, nurses and everyone in the hospitals, they're really on the frontlines of this," says Insp. Mike Lokken, commander of the Edmonton-area Parkland detachment.

On March 31, RCMP officers and other first responders drove to the local hospital with sirens blaring as a sign of appreciation. Later that day, many officers, while also physical distancing, visited a young boy whose 10th birthday party was cancelled to limit large social gatherings.

"Everyone's doing their part and we want to thank them," adds Lokken.

In late March, some Vancouverites began to show their appreciation to healthcare professionals working to treat those afflicted by the virus. During a shift change, supporters clapped and banged pots.

There were similar events throughout British Columbia.

"We're all facing extra challenges and we have to get through this together," says Ridge Meadows RCMP Cst. Julie Klaussner, whose detachment's effort was called #FrontlineForTheFrontline.

On March 23, police there began turning on their sirens at 7 p.m. wherever they were in the city — if safe to do so — to show their support for workers at the Ridge Meadows Hospital. The practice continued for the following week and it still goes on depending on operational demands.

In New Brunswick, officers and employees joined parades for health-care workers.

"Doctors and nurses here are dealing with cases now and we want them and the community to know how grateful we are," says Insp. Benoit Jolette of the Moncton-based Codiac detachment.

"But we also want to let people know that we're prepared and doing everything we can do to be safe so we can help when called."

Back in Alberta, Cst. Debra Wash was on the lookout for thieves recently in Spruce Grove, Alta. when she became aware of a self-isolating family who lost several packages containing childrens' birthday gifts.

She organized a visit, from a safe distance, along with other RCMP officers who brought along a few new presents.

"I know the family didn't expect it, but I'm a softie, and my birthday is in March, so it was something I wanted to do at this tough time," says Wash.

Lokken adds actions like that show officers are eager to help.

"Most employees sign up for this job because they want to help," he says. "Well, in the midst of a global pandemic, it's Go Time."

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