It runs in the family: Being raised by a Mountie

Ridge Meadows

2024-06-16 10:46 PDT

Written by Constable Craig Andrews

Growing up, a lot of my friends would idolize celebrities or fictional characters; my hero was my father. I saw the yellow stripe on his uniform as synonymous with Superman’s S. Dad was every bit the Mountie I always wanted to be. While my path to policing was not easy, I could always count on my Dad to support me and offer guidance, no matter what.

Dad started as a General Duty member in Richmond in 1978, eventually working through a series of specialized sections until he was promoted to Corporal in 1990 and joined the Forensic Identification Services (FIS). For most of my childhood, however, Dad was an Inspector and the Officer in Charge (OIC) of E Division forensics. While I am not one for scientific work, Dad loved every part of that world and I was fortunate enough to be in the office on many occasions, watching members work as I waited for Dad to be done for the day or have a few spare minutes to visit with me. I recall one time I was brought into the adjacent traffic office, where I was asked to look in a suspicious bag. Naturally, a teenage boy doesn’t know the difference between a real bomb and a fake training aid. I joined in the chorus of laughter too, once my heart stopped racing.

Cst. Andrews (child) and his father in the late 90s

"I feel I was born to be a police officer. The RCMP is not just my chosen family, it’s been in my blood my whole life." - Cst. Andrews

It wasn’t all just pranks at my expense, though. My Dad enjoyed making positive differences in people’s lives. One such example came around 2010, when a mother approached the Richmond RCMP to enquire about police sketch artists. Her young daughter had, sadly, been killed in the 1980s by a drunk driver and she was hoping police might be able to do an age-enhanced portrait of her. With Dad being the OIC of Forensics, Richmond Detachment referred her request directly to him to see if it were possible for FIS to assist. When Dad read the name, he immediately recalled knowing the family as he had been the first on scene to the call and had held the daughter, providing what comfort he could, when she passed away. Dad approached a sketch artist who agreed to volunteer his time to complete the picture, which was presented in a small ceremony I had the privilege of attending. This moment stuck with me as a prime example of what it meant to be a Mountie, going far beyond what would typically be expected of police.

Cst. Andrews and his father at a formal event

Dad always encouraged me to be involved with the RCMP. I started volunteering with my local community police office while I was in high school. Many years later, I became a cell guard for Langley Detachment. Dad made it clear he was not trying to get me to join the RCMP and he wanted me to follow whatever career path I saw fit. I had tried a few jobs on for size, but I always came back to wanting to join the RCMP. Just before Christmas of 2020, I received my golden call notifying me I would be heading to Depot in February of 2021. My Dad was overjoyed and told me just about every story he had of his time at Depot. I would come to find many things had changed since 1978, and relaying the stories of how Depot was in the 21st century connected my Dad and me in a way that I don’t think many fathers and sons get to experience.

Being a police officer comes with risks, of course, and Dad was never one to shy away from telling me the reality of the career. I grew up with the story of Cst. Tom Agar, a friend of my father’s who was murdered when a gunman walked into the Richmond Detachment and started a shootout with members in 1980. Dad was working that night and had been speaking to Tom about fifteen minutes prior to his death. At the time, Dad had two years of service. I would face a similar situation when, just after I hit two years of service, my colleague Cst. Rick O’Brien was murdered while helping execute a search warrant. While we all grieved, Dad was supportive of me and empathized with my feelings. He helped me navigate the difficult conversations I had with my fiancé in the aftermath - the same conversations he had to have with my Mum forty-three years prior. He assured me that things would get better, made sure I didn’t lose sight of why I became a Mountie, and helped me develop coping mechanisms I will use the rest of my career. 

Cst. Andrews and his father at RCMP Depot Graduation Ceremony

I feel I was born to be a police officer. The RCMP is not just my chosen family, it’s been in my blood my whole life. I can’t imagine my life without my Dad or his influence on me becoming a Mountie myself. Dad retired in 2014 but remains active within the RCMP by attending community events with me, donning his red serge and returning my salutes with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. I’m proud to stand with him, father and son, in a career more amazing than I could have ever imagined.

Released by

Cst. Tisha Parsons

Media Relations Officer
Ridge Meadows RCMP
11990 Haney Place Maple Ridge, BC V2X 9B8
Office: 604-476-6917
Website: (English only)

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