They came from just down the street and from as far away as Newfoundland and Labrador. With boots shined and dress uniforms perfectly pressed, they filed one by one into a Halifax church — some gazing silently ahead, others wiping tears from their eyes.
About 800 police officers and veterans from throughout the Atlantic provinces descended on St. Agnes Church on Saturday morning for the funeral of 41-year-old Const. Tony Carlisle, who died Tuesday in a head-on collision outside of Truro.
The entire Brookfield Elks junior B hockey team, which Carlisle helped to coach, also attended the service.
A former member of the Fredericton police force, Carlisle had worked with the Halifax Regional Police for 14 years. He leaves behind his wife, Jennifer, and children Mathieu, 17, Connor, 8, Megan, 5, and Spencer, 2.
Inside the church, HRP Chaplain Father Lloyd O’Neill spoke at length about the “deep, strong and lasting bond” formed between police officers, and said he was pleased to see so many had come to pay their respects.
In a moving eulogy, Insp. Brent Blackmore of the Fredericton Police Force told the congregation of a night when he and Carlisle were sideswiped in an intersection while on patrol.
“I lost consciousness, and when I came to, I told him to get out,” said Blackmore, a longtime comrade and mentor to Carlisle. “He said, ‘I’ll stay as long as you’re in the car.’”
At one point, Blackmore addressed his friend’s children, seated in the front row.
“You brought so much joy into your father’s life,” he said, his voice breaking. “I know he will continue to watch over you.”
Upon leaving the church, Carlisle’s casket was given a final, formal salute as it passed through a sea of blue uniforms.
“I don’t think I’ve seen this many officers at a service in a really long time,” said HRP Chief Frank Beazley outside the church. “It tells you something about the person.”
Starting today, donations can be made at any Royal Bank branch to the Anthony Carlisle Memorial Trust Fund. The fund will help support the education of Carlisle’s four children.
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