Mount Forest Confederate editorial
Back in the spring of 1982, OPP Constable Rick Hopkins was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a firearms complaint in Arthur.
Thirty years later the life and sacrifice of the young Mount Forest resident who was only 32 years old when he died is being commemorated. The Wellington County OPP has announced that a bridge, located on Highway 6 at the south end of Mount Forest, will be dedicated in his honour.
In May of 1982, local MPP Jack Johnson, also a resident of Mount Forest, rose in the Legislature to pay tribute to the almost 11-year veteran of the Ontario Province Police, Mount Forest detachment and express the heartfelt sympathy of the House and the people of Ontario to Constable Hopkins’s wife, Ada, and two young sons, Stephen James and David John.
No group of people serves our province and its citizens with more devotion and dedication than the men and women of the Ontario Provincial Police and no group is more deserving of our wholehearted support and admiration, Mr. Johnson said.
He also noted at the time that the “tragedy of Constable Hopkins’s death brings home to all of us the sacrifice that our Ontario Province Police officers are prepared to make each and every day to keep this province safe for all of us.”
Mr. Johnson suggested that the people of the province remember that sacrifice with gratitude while mourning the loss of the young police officer.
Constable Hopkins is memorialized on the Ontario Police Memorial Foundation website as follows:
On May 9, 1982 Constable Hopkins, accompanied by Constable Brad Henderson were on routine patrol when they interviewed a person who claimed to have witnessed a shooting. The two officers drove to Arthur but saw no suspicious vehicles. At approximately 0400 hours, they were dispatched to a fire and were met by the local fire chief. He told the officers that he had seen a man with a rifle behind a store.
The two officers drove to Fredrick Street and saw a man matching the description from the earlier witness. He was carrying a rifle and was walking towards the main street. Constable Hopkins opened his door as the suspect continued to walk away from him. He told the suspect to drop the gun; he said nothing but turned and fired the shotgun at the officer, fatally wounding him. Constable Henderson returned fire.
The suspect was apprehended 10 hours later with the use of OPP tracking dogs. He was tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
The bridge dedication ceremony will be held at the Mount Forest and District Sports Complex on Friday, Oct. 12 at 1:30 p.m. and the OPP invites the public to attend.