This year’s Christmas card from the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) takes a departure from the light-hearted approach of the previous five years and pays tribute to the tragic loss of Const. John Davidson.
The card depicts Santa (Police Chief Bob Rich) taking a knee in front of a Christmas tree, while being supported by first responders from the Lower Mainland.
APD first began sending out its yearly holiday greetings in 2012 – and gained international attention – when Rich posed as Santa wearing tactical gear and carrying an assault rifle.
The idea was to target gang-involved individuals and prolific offenders with the question of whether they were planning to be naughty or nice that year.
The image was included on all APD holiday cards mailed out that year, but the greeting on the inside was different for the crooks.
That message encouraged them to call a special APD number if they wanted to talk about changing their lifestyle.
Different variations of the theme followed over the next four years.
But Const. Ian MacDonald said 2017 was different for the APD and the community, with Davidson’s death on Nov. 6, when he was gunned down while responding to a call at a strip mall on Mt. Lehman Road.
“We lost a friend, colleague and family member in Const. John Davidson, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the protection of his community,” MacDonald said.
He said the response from first responders across the globe and the support from citizens in Abbotsford was “absolutely amazing.”
“For that reason, we felt the 2017 Christmas card should reflect both the tragic circumstances we continue to grapple with as well as the enormous gratitude we feel for all the support we received,” MacDonald said.