Updated: Oct 19, 2022
"Her police colleagues described Const. Yang as a kind and compassionate person, which makes her death even more difficult to accept ... Her loss is immeasurable." These words were spoken yesterday by RCMP Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald while addressing the public regarding the senseless murder of three-year RCMP Constable Shaelyn Yang. As a police officer serving in my 33rd year, I can attest to the majority of my co-workers at Brandon PS being truly kind and compassionate men and women. They face conflict, ridicule, scrutiny and adversity every day, yet they manage to maintain kindness and compassion towards persons in our community. Thus, the Deputy Commissioner's description of Constable Yang "as a kind and compassionate person" was not impactful; however, his statement that "Her loss is immeasurable" pierced my heart with the truth of the matter.
At the age of 31, Shaelyn's life work on this earth comes to an abrupt halt. Never again will she have the opportunities to exhibit acts of kindness towards the victim of a sexual assault or domestic violence. Never again will she have the occasion to demonstrate compassion towards a homeless person suffering from mental illness. Never again will she be able to stand for justice while providing testimony in a court of law supporting evidence of the existence of prior acts of violence committed by an offender. Never again will she face the challenge of compartmentalizing a stressful tour of duty before going home to embrace her loving spouse. Never again will she sit in police roll call sharing stories and words of support and encouragement with her peers. Never again ... yes, Deputy Commissioner, "Her loss is immeasurable" as are the losses of all the brave men and women from police agencies across Canada, who predeceased Constable Shaelyn Yang of the Burnaby RCMP mental health and homelessness outreach team.
On the eve of funeral services for South Simcoe slain officers Constable Morgan Russell and Constable Michael Northrup, the grief in our hearts continues to increase with the loss of our sister in policing - Constable Yang. I recall a thought last night after reading an email from RCMP "E" Division Chaplain Coordinator Bill Ashbee as he begins to prepare for a Regimental Funeral, that we haven't even laid to rest the remains of Morgan and Michael and now another officer has been slain. How do we continue to move forward in the midst of the heartache? As police officers, we stand together steadfast knowing we have been called upon to be peacekeepers and we will persevere to complete the call upon our lives. We will continue to engage in conversations with our peers to encourage and support each other. We will seek help from resources allocated to promote mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. Our hope can't rest in the Canadian judicial system; our strength and courage must be rooted in a source greater than ourselves. As police chaplains, we will purpose to unite in prayer for police officers, their families, and for one another. We know where our hope comes from, and we must remain deeply rooted in our faith walk with God. I have seen time after time the strength and power that comes from agreement through prayer; we are to pray without ceasing.
On behalf of the Canadian Police Chaplain Association Leadership Team and police chaplains across Canada, our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the family of RCMP Constable Shaelyn Yang, her colleagues, and police officers across this nation. We mourn this "immeasurable loss" with you and hold you in prayer. We also pray for all police chaplains and support service workers who will be attending to all those connected with Constable Yang. My prayer for police and chaplains is from Psalm 62:5-6 "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken."
Constable/Chaplain Bruce Ewanyshyn
ICPC Director Region 1