Const. Jennifer Kovach is being remembered as a lifelong Guelphite who was passionate about improving her community.

Kovach, 26, was killed early Thursday morning when her police cruiser struck a Guelph Transit bus on Imperial Road.

She was alone in her vehicle, on her way to a call when her cruiser crossed over to the other side of the road near the entrance to the West End Rec Centre and hit the bus, which was not carrying any passengers.

The drivers of both vehicles were taken to hospital, where Kovach was pronounced dead. The driver of the bus suffered minor injuries and was released later Thursday morning.

At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Guelph Police Chief Bryan Larkin praised Kovach’s dedication to her city, saying the fourth-year constable turned down employment offers from outside agencies to remain in her hometown.

“She always had this great smile, this incredible zest for life,” he said.

“She would probably self-declare herself as a born daredevil. She enjoyed riding motorcycles, had a tremendous passion for dogs, and loved her pups.”

Larkin thanked the Guelph and policing communities for their support, and praised the bus driver for providing “significant care” to Kovach.

Kovach joined the Guelph Police Service in 2009 and worked as a patrol officer.

She knew from an early age that she wanted to enter law enforcement, Larkin said, and said as much to an officer providing outreach services at her high school.

“Jennifer was fulfilling a childhood dream,” said Larkin.

“If you talk to the members of her platoon, Jennifer didn’t come to work. She came to make a difference in the City of Guelph.”

She was the daughter of longtime Guelph Coun. Gloria Kovach and recently retired paramedic Bill Kovach.

“Many of our paramedics are upset and grieving on his behalf and worried about him and his family,” Guelph-Wellington EMS chief Stephan Dewar told CTV.

Kovach was very close to her entire family, and would have become an aunt later Monday -- her brother Brian welcomed a new daughter into the world Monday morning.

In a statement, Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge offered condolences to the Kovach family.

"There are no words that can adequately express our sorrow over their tragic loss," she said.

"We also recognize this is a very difficult time for our Guelph Police Service who have lost a member of their service. We would like to express our gratitude for their brave service, and assure them that Const. Kovach will always be remembered for her sacrifice to keep our community safe."

Kovach, a graduate of Guelph’s Centennial CVI and Kitchener’s Conestoga College, is the third Guelph police officer in history to die on active duty, following the deaths of Const. William Holloway in 1922 and Const. Walter "Eric" MacAulay in 1964.

Police continue to investigate the circumstances around the crash with assistance from forensic units and the coroner’s office.

Larkin said weather may have been a factor in the collision.

“Temperatures had dropped, there was some light snowfall,” he said.

“We are looking into whether road conditions (were) a factor in the collision.”

Kovach will receive a public funeral with police honours at a date to be announced.