The Calgary police officer killed in the line of duty New Year’s Eve, allegedly by a pair of teenagers, spent two summers working closely with cadet youth in Vernon.
Andrew Harnett, 37, a sergeant with the Calgary Police Department, was killed just before 11 p.m. in northeast Calgary Thursday, Dec. 31, following a routine traffic stop of a vehicle. Police said Harnett was struck and dragged by an SUV that he had pulled over.
The two individuals in the SUV fled, but turned themselves into police the following day. The two males are 17 and 19 and have been charged with first-degree murder.
Harnett, a native of Hagersville, Ont., worked for the military police in Edmonton, which is how he came to the Vernon Army Cadet Camp in the summer of 2007.
“He was part of the regular force military police that supported the cadet camp,” recalled Lyle Johnson, Deputy Commanding Officer of the army camp in 2007. “He was a very positive, very happy guy who liked to be involved.
“He had this skill of understanding youth and could relate to the young people. Andrew related to them and talked to the kids, and they related to him. He was a friend and ally to those kids who were away from their homes.”
News of Harnett’s death devastated Johnson.
“Incredibly saddened,” he said. “He was such a good person. His death, the way it happened…what a waste. Senseless.”
Harnett was only to have spent one summer at the Vernon Army Camp, but when there was a personnel shortage the following year, 2008, Harnett happily volunteered to return and spent the final two weeks working at the camp.
He received a Commanding Officers Commendation from C.O. Lt.-Col. Allan Dengis for his part in a cooperative effort to nab three suspects in a Vernon robbery whose vehicle broke down near the army camp.
Harnett went on to spend 12 years with the Calgary Police Department.
He is survived by his wife, Chelsea, who is expecting the couple’s first child in the summer of 2021.