Constable Chris Flanagan with the Moose Jaw Police Service (MJPS) recently had the opportunity to accompany the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to Thailand to attend a memorial service for his late father, Corporal Derek Flanagan, who was killed in the line of duty overseas.

His father worked within the RCMP’s Drug Investigation Unit in Vancouver, BC. Flanagan's father was killed in the line of duty on February 20, 1989, while taking part in a drug project overseas in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

“Knowing where he passed away in Thailand, it has always been a dream of mine to go to see where it happened. I’m just grateful for this opportunity,” says Constable Flanagan.

Following a trip to Chiang Mai by the RCMP’s E Division (British Columbia) last February, they discovered there was no memorial or representation of Corporal Flanagan within the city.

They then worked to plan a trip to Chiang Mai and hold a ceremony to honour Corporal Flanagan. The RCMP approached and invited Constable Flanagan on the 8-day trip to Thailand who was accompanied by three current RCMP members from E Division. The RCMP was gracious enough to cover all the expenses of Constable Flanagan’s trip.

“The thing about policing is no matter where you police we’re all a family. I know one of the members used some of his own money and airline points to make sure this happened. I’m tremendously happy and grateful that they were able to make this happen for me.”

A memorial service for Constable Flanagan’s father was held on February 20, 2024, at the Royal Thai Police Headquarters in Chiang Mai. That day marked the 35th anniversary of Corporal Flanagan’s death.

“The ceremony was emotional, ” notes Corporal Flanagan. “It’s a great honour for me to be able to attend and it was a great honour to represent my family as well. I was four when my dad passed away, so things like this bring it full circle that he was a tremendous police officer, father, husband, and friend.

“It’s something I take great pride in, wearing the badge and knowing that he sacrificed his life doing the job that I’m currently doing. It leaves me speechless,” Constable Flanagan adds.

A tree was planted in front of the Royal Thai Police Headquarters in memory of Corporal Flanagan. In addition, a commemorative plaque for his father was created and will remain next to the tree.

Constable Flanagan also represented the Moose Jaw Police Service at his father’s ceremony, wearing his official tunic.

“Chief (Rick) Bourassa and Deputy Chief (Rick) Johns were very supportive of me going overseas. Being able to wear my uniform and badge, and represent my police service, was a great honour.”

Support was ten-fold for Constable Flanagan, as he was joined by members of the RCMP, liaison officers from Bangkok, and Malaysia, the Canadian Ambassador for Thailand, Thai border service agents, and a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force who attended in uniform.

During his trip to Thailand, Constable Flanagan was given the opportunity to join the RCMP at the International Narcotics Control College (INCC) in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The INCC aims to provide training to law enforcement agents and partner organizations to combat drug trafficking in the Mekong subregion.

“I was able to sit in at a drug and human trafficking briefing, which was very exciting for me. In Bangkok, I was able to sit through a prisoner extradition that occurred a couple of years ago.”

He also joined the Royal Thai Navy’s River Control Unit on a patrol of the Mekong River. To top it all off, Flanagan had the chance to tour parts of Tham Luang cave, which is where a Thai soccer team became trapped after it flooded in 2018.

Constable Flanagan couldn’t say enough about the gracious hospitality that he received from the Thai government throughout the trip.

“We were treated like royalty over there. The Thai government put out the red carpet for us, showed us the sights, and made sure we had a good time. It was a phenomenal experience all around.”