“Every anniversary of 9/11 is still a very emotional time,” says Doug Lein, retired Saugeen Shores Police Officer, “and this, the 20th anniversary, is especially moving.”
Lein, a Southampton Port Elgin Police Officer at that time, was was registered with the Canadian Critical Incident Stress Foundation and was asked to join with York Regional Police team to make up a team of 12 members who would travel to New York.
The team of 12 police officers, including Lein, offered its services known as Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance (POPPA), that also included Mike Comars of Owen Sound Police , an Owen Sound OPP detachment officer and nine members from York Regional. two police constables from Owen Sound, who travelled to what became known as ‘ground zero”.
The team left from York Regional headquarters in Newmarket on Sunday morning at 0300 hours and drove through the night and day to a hotel in Manhattan.
Lein said that, “We were there to provide critical and stress counselling and debriefing to New York Police Department (NYPD) officers. We were head-quartered on the 13th floor of the Federal Reserve Bank and worked in several locations, including St. Paul’s Cathedral next to ground zero.”
One of the most emotional moments, according to Lein, was in the ‘memorial tent’ area. “There were flowers and photos along with messages asking where loved ones were.”
“The entire time we were there was very moving,” added Lein. “We also received a wonderful welcome and treatment the whole time.”
All of the team members signed their names on a Canadian flag that was hung in the NYPD office at the Reserve Bank. “It’s a time I will always remember,” says Lein.
Today, September 11th, is known as ‘Patriot Day’ and, where the twin towers once stood, is an eight-acre park that consists of two reflecting pools with waterfalls designed by Michael Ara and that is known as Reflecting Absence. At “Reflecting Absence”, the names of all the victims are engraved on 152 bronze panels surrounding the pools.