Since launching our CPCA website in 2021, I have authored far too many stories that included memorials of active police officers whose sudden deaths have been mourned by police agency families across Canada. On Monday Feb 5th, the news of the sudden death of 46 year old BPS Constable Lucien Ethier created a shock wave that reverberated through BPS headquarters and our satellite station like none other (click on the photo above to see the BPS FB post). To know "Luch" is to love Luch; through 20 years with BPS he has generated the respect of his peers many times over. An avid hunter, fisherman, guide and outdoorsman, Luch led a very active lifestyle. In conversations with my peers this week, I heard adjectives like invincible, unstoppable, mountain of a man used to describe our friend and colleague. Hence, the shock of his passing during the prime of his policing career was initially very difficult to process.
Pictured at the top left for a 2001 DOTC Police Recruit Class graduation ceremony, I had the pleasure of meeting Lucien before he was sworn in as a Constable. I met Lucien on Day 1 of his recruit class and spent every day of the 16 week training course coordinating and instructing his class. I had the privilege of watching this 22 year young quiet but physically strong man grow and thrive in scenarios as he navigated from theoretical learning to practical application. He became one of my favorite students due to his willingness to learn and accept direction while projecting a respectful persona. I nicknamed him "Luchieman" because even as a recruit he was the epitome of a man's man. Upon graduating from this class, Lucien worked for the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Counsel Police (now known as MFNP) for three years. I was excited when BPS hired him on as an Experienced Officer in 2004. Below is page 1 of a 3 page news story published in Blue Line magazine in October 2001 highlighting Lucien's DOTC Police recruit class.
Until Feb 5th 2024, Lucien was serving BPS while seconded to NWEST (National Weapons Enforcement Support Team). Here is a link that further explains NWEST which is part of the Canadian Firearms Programs. He had an office in BPS Major Crimes Unit and his time was divided between attending BPS and WPS/RCMP "D" Division. Through this detail, Lucien has established many friends in law enforcement agencies throughout Manitoba. He was serving while doing what he loved and was passionate about - everything concerning firearms. He was the first officer I would seek out with any questions regarding firearms; the majority of the time he had the answer and if not it didn't take him long to find the answer. Luch was also one of our firearms instructors; he always brought a calming presence to me when I was at the range for annual qualifications. This sentiment has been echoed many times in conversations with my peers this week.
This past week has been very challenging for all officers and civilian staff at BPS. Until today, I've kept busy in my role as chaplain visiting the different BPS Units, attending roll call for our four Platoons, meeting one on one with as many officers and civilian staff as possible, and supporting our management at all levels. These are the things we do as police chaplains; offering emotional and spiritual care to the police family we love. Through tears, I have seen beautiful moments transpire both in group settings and one on one meetings. A police family is as diverse as any workplace family, but we understand trauma more than most, and we understand that we are stronger together. This week we have come together in groups which has been therapeutic. God has answered my prayers with open doors to pray over my peers in group and individual settings. I take comfort knowing His Word does not return void and will do what He intends in the hearts of my BPS family. Throughout the week, I have been impacted and blessed from a combination of the Lord's presence and from spending time with my BPS family. I can share that in the precious moments spent with my peers, they have been a source of great encouragement, support and healing. Officers and civilians alike have been my therapy sources, while the love and respect I have for them has grown. The tragic loss of Lucien has brought us closer together and will continue to have that ripple affect as we continue to process our sorrow together. This is the positive residual affect of sharing a love and respect for a man who was an officer and a gentleman.
I don't believe in coincidence; thus I believe that the training I received during our CPCA Webinar with Eugene Dufour on Jan 25, 2024 was a blessing from God to prepare me for this week. For those chaplains who missed the webinar, Eugene presented for 2.5 hours on "Walking With Suffering - When Your Colleagues Are Hurting." We are suffering the loss of a loved one this week. During roll call lineups and one on one meetings I would mention Eugene's name and provide examples he shared during his presentation that brought comfort in situations of sudden loss and trauma. The examples Eugene illustrated and the take aways he learned and shared with us on Jan 25 helped me navigate through this week. In my opinion, Eugene has been our best presenter to date. He has agreed to present at our 2025 ATS in BC; I've also received requests from chaplains who attended the Jan 25th webinar that they would like to hear more from Eugene in a future webinar. My week was just a little easier because of the tools I acquired from Eugene during his presentation. Many blessings to you Eugene Dufour and thank you, Sir.
I thank the CPCA Leadership Team for their support for allowing me to be negligible in my duties as CPCA President this week. I have been able to focus 100% on my BPS family without any distractions. I appreciate the support I have received from BPS upper and middle management in allowing me to put aside all police work for the week to focus on caregiving. Thank you to all my chaplain colleagues who have reached out with messages that you are praying for me and for my peers. As a police chaplain, you are all too familiar with the marathon of service that comes with the sudden death of an active member; however, it brings opportunities to love our officers and police staff and observe God move through our acts of love and service. Please pray for Lucien's partner Lindsay, son Ethan, siblings, all his family & friends, and law enforcement colleagues in BPS, RCMP, WPS, MFNP, and others.
BPS Chaplain/Constable Bruce Ewanyshyn
ICPC Director of Region 1