SHERWOOD PARK, Alta. — Friends, family and hundreds of officers gathered Thursday for a regimental funeral, where an RCMP constable who died on duty was remembered for his kindness, openness and generosity.
Const. Harvinder Singh Dhami, a member of the Strathcona County detachment east of Edmonton, died in a crash while on his way to help other officers with a noise complaint early on April 10.
"He was my person," his widow, Ravinder Dhami-Randhawa, said while holding back tears. "The most generous, giving and optimistic person."
During her eulogy, Dhami-Randhawa said the morning she received news that her husband had died was a nightmare.
"I woke up abruptly to the knocks on the front door — a sound that will forever haunt me."
The two were together for 12 years.
Dhami-Randhawa said her husband made her feel safe and protected since the day they met.
"He was the reason I felt safe — not because he was an officer, because that's who Harv was," she said.
"I do not feel safe anymore."
"Every part of my life, my home, my past, my present and my future, was intertwined with Harv. Today, I stand here empty and broken in ways that I cannot put together."
The 32-year-old officer, affectionately known as Harvey, was described as a dependable colleague who was proud to wear his uniform.
Dhami graduated from the RCMP Academy in 2019 before he was posted to Strathcona County.
Previously in Brampton, Ont., Dhami volunteered for three years serving meals to elderly members of the Punjabi community.
Before the funeral, dozens of people lined streets in Sherwood Park as hundreds of police officers marched with a white hearse carrying Dhami's casket, wrapped in a Canadian flag, to a recreation centre.
"We're here to support the fallen officer," said Cheryl Yaremchuk, who was bundled up along the procession route on the chilly morning.
"We so appreciate his service."
RCMP Chaplain Shay Anderson considered Dhami a close friend.
"I found him incredibly easy to talk to — an open book," Anderson said before he delivered the opening prayer. "He had such a humble attitude."
"His memory will be cherished by everyone."
Childhood friend Aman Chaggar said he thought of Dhami as a brother.
"We would not be the people we are today without Harv," said Chaggar in his eulogy.
In January 2021, Strathcona County victim services recognized Dhami for knowing the value of post-incident supports and sharing them with victims.
Gurvinder Dhami, who is a constable with Peel Regional Police west of Toronto, said the last time he spoke in front of a group of people about his little brother was during his best man speech.
"My brother was a remarkable human being. He was the very essence of what it means to be a good, kind and compassionate person."
He said he and his brother had an unbreakable bond. He then brought their mother to the podium.
"Always, we love you," said the woman.
Ardaas, a Sikh prayer, was done in Punjabi before RCMP officers dressed in Red Serge carried the casket away. The hearse drove down a road from the recreation centre, where hundreds of officers again stood along the route.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2023.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Angela Amato and Ritika Dubey, The Canadian Press