LINE OF DUTY— Const. Dennis Shwaykowski

Remembering Const. Dennis M.N. Shwaykowski

In August 1886, 125 years ago, the first permanent North West Mounted Police (RCMP) post was established at Red Deer at Fort Normandeau.

In the succeeding decades, there has been only one instance where a local police officer lost his life while on duty. The police officer was Const. Dennis Shwaykowski, who was killed in an incident at the Parkland Mall on April 6, 1977.

Dennis Modest Nicklos Shwaykowski was born on Aug. 25, 1945 at Dauphin, Manitoba. He was with the RCMP for more than seven years when he was transferred to the Red Deer City Detachment in 1974.

At 9:50 p.m., on Wednesday, April 6, 1977, the Police received a call about a serious incident at the Trapper Dave’s restaurant in the Parkland Mall.

A 28 year-old man from Penhold had broken up his girlfriend about three months previously. He had subsequently made serious threats of violence against her.

That evening, the man spotted his ex-girlfriend in the lounge at Trapper Dave’s with three other men. Enraged, he went home and collected a loaded 12 gauge shot gun and .308 rifle.

He returned to the restaurant and began waving his gun around. By the time Shwaykowski and his partner Const. David Guy arrived, the man had left the lounge, but was still driving his half-ton truck around the Mall parking lot.

Shwaykowski approached the truck on foot, ordered the driver to stop and to get out of his vehicle. As he got closer with his flashlight, Shwaykowski recognized the suspect.

Unfortunately, the driver refused to get out of his truck and began arguing with Shwaykowski. The suspect began to drive away, but Shwaykowski jumped on the truck’s driving board and tried to get the man to stop.

As the man continued to speed up, Shwaykowski began to pull on the man’s shirt through the window and then gave him a couple of blows with his flashlight.

As the truck accelerated to 80 km per hour, it headed towards a landscaped area of rocks and spruce trees in the middle of the mall parking lot.

The truck bumped on the rocks, damaging the left front tire and rim. Shwaykowski was thrown from the running board.

Const. Guy had been running after the truck to assist. However, by the time he arrived at the parking lot island, he found that Shwaykowski had hit his head on the rocks and had died immediately.

The suspect took off, but by the time he reached the Summit Esso station at 7111 Gaetz Ave. he started to gain control of himself again.

He pulled into the service station and asked a staff member in the restaurant to call the police.

The man was sitting in his truck, extremely upset, but now cooperative when police arrived. The loaded shotgun and rifle were still on the seat beside him when he was arrested.

The man, Stanley Hicks, was originally charged with first-degree murder, but he later pled guilty to a charge of criminal negligence causing death. He subsequently served a three-year sentence in a penitentiary.

Shwaykowski was survived by his wife Linda and three young children. His funeral at Sacred Heart Church was a massive one. There was a special RCMP guard of honour as well as large numbers of RCMP and other police officers from across Canada in attendance.

Shwaykowski was buried in the Birchwood Cemetery at Swan River, Manitoba.

On May 4, 1978, a small memorial plaque, with photo, was unveiled by the City of Red Deer.

On Sept. 9, 1992, more than 200 people attended the official unveiling of a much larger black marble memorial plaque. This second plaque is now in the front foyer of the current RCMP City Detachment station.

On Saturday, March 5, the new RCMP City Detachment building on 45 St. will be officially opened.

There will be public tours of the new building in the afternoon.

Just Posted

Red Deer to host portion of Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament

City approves $75,000 in support of 2018 hosting

WATCH: Red Deer RCMP charge two individuals with 198 charges, 29 firearms seized

Tara Veer and Ken Foster credit Pinpoint for arrests and seizures

Motorist dies near Ponoka after loose tire collides with vehicle

Ponoka RCMP seek assistance in locating vehicle belonging to the tire

MC College offers mental health app for all students

MC College has an application to provide students with access to mental health service

FCC host forum featuring sportscaster Brian Williams

The forum is part hopes to educate, reenergerize, inspire and inform producers

CP Holiday Train steams into Lacombe

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train delighted residents of Lacombe on Dec. 6

WestJet Christmas video turns children’s wishes into reality

This year’s annual video took a new spin on the 12 days of Christmas

Firefighters protect seaside California towns as blaze rages

A flare-up on the western edge of Southern California’s largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday

Putin declares victory on visit to air base in Syria

Declaring a victory in Syria, Putin on Monday visited a Russian military air base in the country and announced a partial pullout of Russian forces from the Mideast nation.

Pipe bomb explodes in NYC subway

Pipe bomb strapped to man explodes in NYC subway, injuring 4

Toronto FC to hold victory parade following MLS Cup championship

Toronto FC to hold downtown victory parade following MLS Cup championship

Canada’s only commercial spaceport hopes to launch 12 rockets per year

Nova Scotia’s rocket launch site hopes to eventually host 12 launches per year

‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globes

The nominees were announced from Beverly Hills after still-burning fires ravaged Southern California for the past week.

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

Most Read