COLWOOD, B.C. — An RCMP officer who died on duty last week was remembered Tuesday as a loving wife and mother with a quirky sense of humour and a commitment to service.
Const. Sarah Beckett, 32, died April 5 when her cruiser was broadsided by a pickup truck in the Vancouver Island community of Langford.
The 11-year member of the force left behind a husband and two sons aged five and two.
"Goodbye, Sarah," said her former colleague Staff Sgt. Phil Lue in an emotional message at the packed Q Centre hockey arena in Colwood. "Your memory will always stay with us and you will be missed."
RCMP pallbearers carry the casket of Const. Sarah Beckett during a regimental funeral service at the Q Centre arena in Colwood, B.C., on Apr. 12, 2016.
Lue said the "excellent investigator" incited gales of laughter with her seagull calls, which drew the attention of hoardes of birds and people amazed with her skill.
Her godfather Jack Hayden said Beckett aimed to become a paleontologist before deciding to follow in her grandfather's steps and become an RCMP officer.
"She lived for her family," Hayden said, adding that besides her love for her two young boys and their dog Maximus, Beckett prized her life with her husband Brad, who she met and married in Las Vegas.
"You warned me this day may come when we first met each other," her husband said in a message read by Hayden. "I would still take this journey 1,000 times with you."
Hayden said Beckett had an infectious laugh and that her colleagues nicknamed her Backup Beckett after she backed into a fire truck with her cruiser.
RCMP officers salute during a regimental funeral service for Const. Sarah Beckett in Colwood, B.C., April 12, 2016. (Photo: Chad Hipolito/CP)
Beckett served at the RCMP detachment in Port McNeil, B.C., for five years after finishing her training in 2005.
She previously pumped gas, managed a Petro-Canada station and worked as a server, often amazed at the great tips she'd make because she "spilled so many drinks on customers," said Hayden, who knew Beckett since she was born in Calgary.
Her parents and sister prized public service, Hayden told mourners, which included Premier Christy Clark and NDP Leader John Horgan.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson described Beckett as smart, strong and fun.
"She loved this job because it played to her strengths: her perceptiveness, her personal acumen, her confidence, her resolve," he said.
"She was outraged by injustice and fought to make it right. She had no time for complacency and didn't abide it. She had a knack for interviews and it followed a gift for engaging people. She was, in short, the archetypal modern Mountie. We will miss her."
RCMP officers, municipal police departments, EMS and uniformed enforcement agencies march side by side along the Old Island Highway for the regimental funeral service for Const. Sarah Beckett. (Photo: Chad Hipolito/CP)
Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, the Mounties' commanding officer in B.C., said Beckett "made an undeniable difference during her 11-year career with the RCMP."
Before the service, the clicking sound of boots marching on wet blacktop punctuated a grey, drizzly afternoon as a procession of law enforcement officers arrived for Beckett's funeral.
Hundreds of people lined the procession route as a hearse made its way to the service, which was attended by members of the public and about 2,000 law enforcement officers.
A riderless horse signifying a fallen officer was part of the procession as officers marched in the sombre but colourful tribute to one of their own.
Beckett's coffin, draped with a Canadian flag, was carried into the service by RCMP officers dressed in their traditional red serge uniforms.
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