HUNTER: Always a risk when cops head to work they may not make it home

Veteran Toronto Police Const. Jeffrey Northrup was killed in the line of duty in an underground parking garage at City Hall

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“Death came in and sat down beside me, a large and most distinguished-looking figure in beautifully-tailored soft, white flannels. His expansive face wore a big smile. “Oh, hello,” I said. “Hello, hello, hello. I was not expecting you. I have not looked at the red board lately and did not know my number was up. If you will just hand me my kady (a hat) and my coat I will be with you in a jiffy.” — DAMON RUNYON, DEATH PAYS A SOCIAL CALL


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And for cops, that’s the way it is 24/7.

No one ever really knows when they’re going up on the red board as Runyon pointed out — least of all the people paid to protect us.

Sure, the rest of us can go at anytime. The culprit often a smorgasbord of too much life, too many whiskies, too many smokes and too much fast food. Sometimes mortality comes down to luck.

But civilians generally don’t worry about a knife in the guts, being battered by a baseball bat, a bullet aimed at our head or being run down by a lunatic in a dark garage on a holiday.

We leave those considerations to the cops.

Early Friday morning, death came calling for veteran Toronto Police Const. Jeffrey Northrup.

He has toiled these mean streets for 31 years and in the interim, married and raised three children. Surely, some cosmic blanket should protect men and women like that?


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  1. Toronto police officer run down, killed in city hall parking garage

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    TEARS OF BLUE: Toronto cops who made ultimate sacrifice

But in that parking garage near City Hall, fairness and safety was in short supply. A routine robbery turned into a stabbing.

Then it became a murder.

And this country’s disingenuous virtue signalling prime minister? Hours after Northrup had died, the nation’s scold-in-chief still hadn’t said a word.

His reality is much different than the view from the streets.

“It’s something you live with. Every time you walk out the door of your house to go to work,” one retired cop told me. “There’s a part of you that knows, there’s a possibility that you may not be coming home.”

Since 1900, 40 Toronto cops are listed as having died in the line of duty, mainly murdered. Northrup’s senseless death makes it 41.


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Cops say Northrup and his partner — working undercover but prominently displaying their police ID — were allegedly slammed into by a suspect vehicle in an act that Chief James Ramer called “deliberate and intentional.”

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Despite clamour to defund the police (quiet on that front yesterday), they are an institution woven into the very fabric of every community.

Too many dead cops stand out as touchstones to a time and place.

Young Todd Baylis, 25, with four years on the job, was shot to death on June 17, 1994, at the apex of the crack epidemic. His killer was carrying a large amount of crack cocaine.

Canada punted the death penalty once and for all in 1976. It didn’t take a lot of people very long to believe that maybe that was a mistake.

On March 14, 1980, Const. Michael Sweet and his partner responded to a robbery in progress.

Sweet was shot twice in the chest by knucklehead Craig Munroe and slowly bled to death. Munroe refused to let the wounded cop receive medical treatment.

The young officer died in hospital and the public clamored for the heartless killer to hang.

As Damon Runyon wrote, most people don’t know when their number is up.

It’s just for cops, their number is always a lot closer than the rest of ours’.



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