________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 16 . . . . April 3, 2009

cover Fallen Officers: Canadian Police in the Line of Fire.

Peter Boer.
St. Albert, AB: Quagmire Press (Distributed by Lone Pine Publishing), 2008.
263 pp., pbk., $18.95.
ISBN 978-0-9783409-4-0.

Subject Headings:
Police murders-Canada.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police-Biography.

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.

Review by Thomas F. Chambers.

*** /4


Vigor and his partner kept trying their radios, calling for any kind of response from the four officers who had gone inside. But there was no answer.

By now the entire area was surrounded by as many police officers as the local detachments could muster, toting rifles and shotguns, effectively sealing off the area. It was still early?only an hour had passed since Vigor had come under fire, but there was still no response from the Quonset, either from the officers inside or from the man who had come out shooting.

Fallen Officers has six chapters on the tragic deaths of police officers killed while on duty. All the deaths occurred between 2001 and 2007. Each chapter, which is between 40 and 50 pages, can be compared to tense television crime dramas, except that they are real and television is fiction. The book is written in a simple, straightforward style suitable for the attended readership. It is exciting and as hard to put down as a good mystery. It could be used for classroom support or for recreational reading.

    There is good background information on those accused of killing the police. (Some of the cases are still pending.) In this way, they become more than names on a page, and the reader, in some cases, can better understand their behaviour. There is similar information about the officers killed, which makes their tragic deaths more meaningful.

    Fallen Officers has a “Table of Contents” and “Notes on Sources” but no index. The inclusion of an index would have made the book more useful. It has two functional black and white photographs. One is of an Emergency Response Team member, and the other is of Emrah Bulatci, accused of killing Constable Christopher Worden. Both are in the chapter on Worden’s killing. More photographs would have been welcome. There is also a useful and interesting Introduction. Included is a brief discussion about why people kill police officers.

     There are numerous legal terms included in Fallen Officers. Young people will find these informative because some are not well known. A glossary of the terms used, such as "statutory release" and "victim impact statement," would have been useful.

     All stories about the deaths of police killed while on duty are sad. The saddest in Fallen Officers is that of the killing of four RCMP officers near Mayerthorpe, AB, in March 2005. It is also the most bizarre story in the book because of the suicide of their killer, James Roszko. This tragic affair was soon on the national news creating shock and dismay across the country.

     Author, Peter Boer, an assistant editor and reporter for the St. Albert, AB, Gazette has written eight other non-fiction books, including Wrongfully Convicted: The Innocent in Canada. Fallen Officers is a worthy successor.


Thomas F. Chambers, a retired college teacher, lives in North Bay, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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