Hagersville, Ont., mourns fallen Calgary police officer with local roots
KITCHENER -- Hagersville, Ont., is joining the country in mourning a Calgary police officer who died in the line of duty.
Sgt. Andrew Harnett, who was 37, was struck and killed after pulling over a vehicle on New Year’s Eve, police said. Two teens have since turned themselves in.
The 17-year-old and 19-year-old charged with first-degree murder have appeared in court and will remain in custody until their bail hearing on Monday, according to Calgary police.
Harnett is being remembered as having had a “passion to serve”, and his love for policing developed during his early years in Hagersville.
“He was born to be a police officer and he knew it,” his brother Jason Harnett told CTV News Kitchener on Friday evening. “He just had a passion to serve. There was right and wrong, and he really believed in that."
“Nobody ever wants to receive a phone call like that,” Harnett said about learning of his brother’s death. “He really cared about his family and we’re going to deeply miss him.
"A lot of the country, a lot of the provinces were looking forward to moving ahead into better times for 2021, and here we are with this devastating news."
Thank You Hagersville pic.twitter.com/FMOZIhgeDf— Jason Harnett (@Harnettshow) January 3, 2021
Harnett said his brother was a volunteer member of Crime Stoppers for five years while still a student at Hagersville Secondary School.
Janice Schweder knew Andrew from both avenues, as a teacher at the school and a coordinator for Students Crime Stoppers.
"He was the icon of a good person and humanitarian," she said. "In grade 10 he told me that he thought he was going to become a police officer. He just excelled all the way through.
"He unfortunately died loving his job and doing his job. He always tried to do the right thing, and that was the answer."
Andrew's high school has lowered its flag to half mast in his honour.
Jason said his brother would even try to keep an eye out for shoplifters when he worked at Canadian Tire back in those days.
“He was very proud of not wanting to let anyone just walk out of that store with anything," he said.
Jason adds that his brother’s desire to do good for his community stayed with him from his days as a military police officer, to his role in Alberta.
“Every day he went to Calgary Police trying to make a difference.”
Jason said some officers in their hometown OPP detachment in Haldimand County served as mentors to Andrew, who would sometimes ride along with them to learn more about policing.
OPP Commissioner shares condolences
OPP Commissioner Thomas Carriquetold CTV Kitchener on Friday that a number of OPP officers would have been familiar with Harnett, and shared his condolences.
“As I understand it, Andrew was one of the most active Crime Stoppers volunteers we've ever seen in this province,” Carrique said.
"All of our hearts are broken today with the news of the death of Sgt. Harnett and our condolences go down to Chief Neufeld of Calgary Police, his men and women, and of course to Sgt. Harnett's family as well,” Carrique added.
Harnett was the youngest of three brothers.
His family tells CTV News it’s their hope that a community celebration of Andrew’s life can be held once pandemic protocols are eased in the future.
With reporting from CTV Kitchener's Stephanie Villella