Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
The memorial march for Const. Joe Prevett heads down Syndicate Avenue.
Const. Joseph Prevett was a gentleman.
"Happy go-lucky. I always remember that little laugh he had. I never saw Joe mad. I never saw him get upset...nothing really seemed to bother Joe," said OPP Const. Dan Bailey of the Grey-Bruce detachment.
Law enforcement and emergency response agencies from across the country and the U.S. attended the memorial service for Prevett, the Thunder Bay Police Service's lone canine handler who passed away May 7 during a training session with his dog Timber in Gravenhurst, Ont., on Thursday.
Prevett died from coronary artery disease. He was 50 years old.
The funeral began with a parade down Arthur Street to St. Patrick's Cathedral, where the service was held.
Bailey had met Prevett in 2005 when they both joined canine units in their respective forces and trained together and when Bailey worked in the Fort Frances area for a few years, the two worked together at various times.
The day before Prevett died, Bailey's dog was injured and they had to remove the animal from service.
Now Bailey and Timber are new partners.
"I was fortunate to be asked if I would take Joe's dog, to bring him along because we feel that's something Joe would have actually wanted. For me today it's a great honour to be here and in sadness and sorrow for the loss of Joe but also to be able to walk with his dog in memory of Joe," said Bailey.
Prevett had a great love and passion for his work with the canine program.
"Joe loved doing what he was doing. He loved policing," said Bailey.
About 400 law enforcement officers travelled from coast to coast and south of the border to attend the service and city police chief J.P. Levesque was amazed by the turnout.
"It was quite moving on the march from the old provincial courthouse. Arthur Street was lined," he said, adding it speaks volumes to Prevett's character.
"His attitude and his work ethic and the way he was thought of," said Levesque.
"He was very well though of, very well respected."
While Prevett's death has been tough, Levesque said he keeps thinking about the constable's family and what a shock his death was to them.
"Joe was a young man. He had just turned 50 the day before he passed away," he said.
Thunder Bay Police Service Insp. Al McKenzie said Prevett's death was definitely a shock and that he and his furry partner were the most popular officers on the force.
"Joe was a great friend to a lot of people. He was passionate about his job. He was empathetic to the people of our community," said McKenzie, adding he was proud to see the turnout for the service.
"Within policing, we consider ourselves a family. We're the thin blue line that stands between right and wrong. We know we have to support each other when things go bad," he said.
Prevett was the first city police officer to die on the job since Const. John Kusznier in 1978.