UPDATE: Thousands pay tribute to fallen Guelph constable
Thousands of mourners, many of them police officers, gathered in Guelph on Thursday to pay tribute to a policewoman killed in the line of duty last week.
Const. Jennifer Kovach, 26, died a week ago today when her cruiser crossed the centre line and collided with a Guelph Transit bus.
She was responding to another officer's call for assistance at the time.
Church bells tolled as residents watched a police procession march solemnly through the city's downtown toward the Sleeman
Centre, where a public funeral is being held.
Const. Scott Grover, Kovach`s supervisor for the past two and a half years, asked those gathered to ``mourn the loss and celebrate the life'' of an officer he called ``a hero in life, not in death.``
Ontario`s Lieutenant Govenor, who was among the thousands who packed the arena, said Kovach was an inspiration.
``When a police officer dies in the line of duty it affects us alla Jennifer represented the virtues we admire most as a province
and a nation, the virtues of duty and courage,`` said David Onley.
``Jennifer's commitment to duty and courage enabled her to embrace her oath as an officer in life and in death.''
Matt Jotham, president of the Guelph Police Association, said Kovach's death has weighed heavily on the force.
``We all know each other, we have two detachments but we're a close-knit police service. It's been difficult,'' he said.
Many mourners wore a memorial pin inscribed with the slain constable's name and badge number, 72.
Guelph's police chief has described Kovach as a vibrant and dynamic woman who fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a police officer.
She was the daughter of Gloria Kovach, a longtime city councillor and former president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
The Police Association of Ontario said the constable made the ultimate sacrifice to keep her community and coworkers safe.
``We celebrate her life and her commitment to the community and profession she served,'' the association's president, Dave McFadden, said in a statement.
Flags across the province were flown at half mast.
(The Canadian Press)