COFFEE WITH: Alberni RCMP inspector living his childhood dream

Inspector Mac Richards has a long history with law enforcement and Port Alberni, dating back to his childhood.

Port Alberni RCMP Inspector Mac Richards.

Ask a young boy what he wants to be when he grows up and chances are “policeman” or “fireman” will be one of the top two responses.

That rang true for Mac Richards who also thought about being a paramedic, perhaps influenced by his mother, who was a nurse. However, a law enforcement career won out in the end.

“From when I was five or six-years old, it was already something I identified,” Richards said, who is Port Alberni’s RCMP detachment commander. “Growing up, my mother kept a portfolio for each grade and in it, there was something about what do you want to do when you grow up and this is what consistently came up over the years.”

Richards grew up in Coquitlam and had an uncle who was a policeman in another part of B.C. Inspired by what his uncle did, Richards started volunteering for the local Coquitlam detachment, which solidified his future career.

“Part of it was a sense of helping people and a sense of what’s right and insuring, making sure that’s taken care of in a community,” Richards said, explaining his career choice. “It’s a challenge no doubt.”

Richards started his career in Saskatchewan and worked at four detachments in his 16 years there. He then moved to Alberta for seven years, where he worked at two detachments.

Last October, Richard moved his family from Morinville to Port Alberni and was promoted from staff sergeant to inspector.

“It was an opportunity to come home, or closer to home,” Richards said, explaining his decision to make the move, adding that his two brothers and two sisters all live in B.C., mostly in the Lower Mainland. “The opportunity to live on Vancouver Island is something a person can’t pass up too often.”

However, moving his family to Port Alberni may be a homecoming of sorts. He remembered visiting Sproat Lake and going to the bathtub races in Nanaimo when he was a child. He also spent his honeymoon touring the island with his wife Shannon.

Outside of the office and away from all the paperwork he despises but comes with the job, Richards spends his free time either being a homebody or going outdoors.

He recently returned from a weekend camping trip to Comox with his family and he plans to explore Vancouver Island with more camping trips through out the summer.

On the homebody front, the last movie Richards watched was the original Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock and it was with his daughter Jocelynne, who is finishing Grade 8. They watched the movie so she could see the story behind the new television show, Bates Motel.

Also on the homebody front, the last book Richards read was Good to Great. A book about how companies transition from being average to great and how companies can fail to make the transition.