1994: Death of Toronto Cst. Todd Baylis Sparks Creation of Memorial Ribbon
In 1994 a young Toronto police officer, Cst. Todd Baylis, was killed on duty. Cst. Shawn Coady, working general patrol for the Vancouver Police Department, heard about this loss through the grapevine at work. Although the slaying did make the local Vancouver press, Shawn noticed that it received only brief mention in the middle of the newspaper under a small heading. Shawn found it frustrating that he had no way of mourning the loss of a fellow officer, and no way to honour this officer’s ultimate sacrifice.
Shawn went home and shared his concerns with his wife Diane. He came up with an idea that would permit all officers to mourn such tragic losses, and open an avenue to remember the ultimate sacrifice paid by Police Officers killed in the line of duty. He developed a blue over black ribbon, looped at the top (similar to other commemorative ribbons), with the Vancouver Police coat of arms badge pinned in the middle. The black expressed the mourning of a loss, the blue stood for ‘the thin Blue line’, and the generic badge represented all Police and Peace Officers.
Shawn wore the ribbon on his uniform at work to honour Cst. Baylis. Many people asked him what the ribbon was meant to signify, which allowed Shawn to express his feelings in relation to the death of another Officer serving his community. Diane thought it was a great idea and wanted to wear one as well.