News / Halifax

'He loved what he did:' Police officer from Nova Scotia killed after helping people change tire

The 35-year-old officer for the RCMP was helping change the tire on a SUV when he was hit by a truck.

Nova Scotia RCMP Const. Francis Deschenes was killed in New Brunswick Tuesday while he was stopped on the side of Highway 2 near Memramcook helping to change a vehicle’s tire.

Handout/RCMP

Nova Scotia RCMP Const. Francis Deschenes was killed in New Brunswick Tuesday while he was stopped on the side of Highway 2 near Memramcook helping to change a vehicle’s tire.

The RCMP in Nova Scotia are mourning the loss of one of their own – an officer who more than once exemplified “what policing should be.”

Const. Francis Deschenes, better known as Frank, was killed in the line of duty Tuesday night while he was stopped on the side of Highway 2 in Memramcook, N.B.

Police said he was stopped helping two people in an SUV change their tire when a utility van hit his marked police cruiser and the SUV. Deschenes was pronounced dead at the scene at about 6 p.m.

“We have to remember that, while this member was on duty, he was doing a particular task, helping somebody on the side of the road, pulled over, helping an individual change a tire,” commanding officer of the RCMP in Nova Scotia, Assistant Commissioner Brian Brennan said during a news conference in Amherst Wednesday afternoon.

“That sort of speaks to the core of what policing should be: involved in your community, looking out for people, taking the time to do those small things that would go a long way.”

And it wasn’t the first time 35-year-old Deschenes, a 12-year veteran of the RCMP, had shown that kind of character.

In 2008, Deschenes used his police cruiser to push a family’s broken down vehicle off of a set of train tracks in Brookfield, just 45 seconds before a train came through.

At the time, Deschenes was credited with saving lives and avoiding a possible train derailment.

“That’s just one demonstration of his dedication and commitment,” Brennan said.

Deschenes, from northern New Brunswick, started his career in 2004 posted in Stewiacke, before moving to Bible Hill, and then joining the Musical Ride. More recently, he was stationed in Amherst as a member of the Special Tactical Operations/Tact Troop and a traffic reconstructionist. He received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013.

“From my conversations with family and friends, he was extremely dedicated to the RCMP, he loved what he did,” Brennan said. “Obviously he was involved in the icon of the force, in terms of the Musical Ride. He brought special qualities to do those types of things. From all accounts he was a quality colleague that people enjoyed working with.”

Deschenes was recently married, Brennan said, and police are working with his family to make arrangements for a regimental funeral.

Meanwhile, RCMP in New Brunswick are investigating the circumstances of his death.

“There’s an investigative team looking at all aspects of the incident: the road conditions, the witness statements, etcetera,” Brennan said.

The driver of the utility van that killed Deschenes was taken into custody after being treated for injuries. Brennan didn’t know whether charges had been laid by the time of Wednesday news conference.

People who want to pass on their condolences to Deschenes’ family can sign books at the RCMP’s Amherst detachment or their provincial headquarters in Dartmouth, or email RCMP.Condolences-Condoleances.GRC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

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