The Edmonton police officer who was struck by a vehicle and stabbed several times outside the football stadium on Sept. 30 is back on the job.
“He’s back to work,” EPS chief Rod Knecht said on Thursday.
He said Const. Mike Chernyk wanted to return to work the day after the incident.
“He wanted to get right back to work and obviously there’s an integration program to get him back in,” Knecht said.
“If it was up to him, he would have put that aside and got back to work.”
Chernyk was on traffic duty outside Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 30 when a suspect drove a car into him, sending him flying several metres. The suspect then stabbed Chernyk several times. The entire incident was captured on security video.
The 48-year-old was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, but was later released. He suffered stab wounds to the face and head, as well as significant abrasions on his arms, but is expected to make a full recovery.
“He’s a real resilient individual,” Knecht said. “He did a great job, fantastic… He’s very, very fortunate to be alive and [has had] a tremendous recovery.”
The police chief praised Chernyk for his response in the moment.
“He would actually comment that it was his training that kicked in at a certain point,” Knecht said. “I think most of us would be unconscious or completely debilitated.
“He had the wherewithal to stop his attacker… and protect his firearm and protect the community.”
Knecht called Chernyk a tremendous ambassador for the city and the police service.
“Just a solid farm boy that brought his morals and his ethics and his values to the Edmonton Police Service,” the police chief said. “Just a guy who wants to do the job and get back to work.”
His colleagues shared a special welcome back message on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
The tweet from EPS Insp. Chapdelaine, prompted some encouraging responses from citizens.
On Thursday, Knecht also thanked the Edmonton Eskimos and the Oilers for their efforts to acknowledge Chernyk and the EPS.
Chernyk was honoured at the Edmonton Oilers game just four days after the attacks.
The Edmonton Eskimos also had a special tribute to him and his police colleagues at their first home game after the attacks.
“I know he asked to work the Eskimos game Saturday night,” Knecht said. “He wanted to work. He just needs a little more time but he’s back to work and doing well.”
The police chief said the mayor, premier and prime minister acknowledged police for their response.
Knecht also met with the most seriously injured victim of the U-Haul attacks on Jasper Avenue on Monday. Kimberley O’Hara was struck near the Matrix Hotel.
“I visited her personally and she’s in recovery stage. The family says tremendous improvement over a short time.”
He added that she was going to see her son Monday for the first time since the attack.
“Great family and tremendous optimism,” Knecht said.
“I know she’s making progress… I hope she makes a full recovery.”
The EPS will be conducting an operational review of the circumstances of Sept. 30, specifically focused on policy, training and equipment.