A contingent of Mounties, council members, and other friends from Maple Ridge – including TIMES publisher Spencer Levan (far left) – attended a recent retirement lunch for RCMP Assistant Commissioner Fraser MacRae. After almost 36 years with the police, including two postings with the Ridge Meadows RCMP, MacRae retired from his latest post as officer in charge of Surrey RCMP.
In thanking all the guests who attended the lunch at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel, MacRae reflected on his time on the force.
“Through that time, I have met so many, many wonderful people,” he said.
As a young boy, the RCMP training depot in Regina was his “playground.
“I sold papers to the recruits, hung out in the dorms, stables, arena, gym, swimming pool,” he said. “I grew up wanting to be a member of the RCMP.”
Well, that dream was realized in October 1976, when he was sworn in by his father.
“I drove my 1969 Cutlass A Block down from our house on the square to the guardroom and thus the adventure began,” MacRae said.
“I remember my Dad saying that he never spent one day in the force wishing he had done something else. Well, I guess ‘like father-like son’ because I feel exactly the same way.”
After completing training at “depot” in his hometown of Regina, MacRae was posted to the Lower Mainland, where all his years of service were spent.
He had various postings, including service in North Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, and twice in Ridge Meadows.
He worked his way up from general duty to patrol supervisor. He served as watch commander and upward, including 17 years at the RCMP’s E Division headquarters where he was involved in many high-profile serious crime and drug investigations.
While with Ridge Meadows RCMP the first time, he spent a six-month posting as a staff seargeant in charge of operations in 2001 before being promoted to inspector and moved to Burnaby. He returned to Ridge Meadows RCMP again in August 2002 as officer in charge of the detachment, where he remained until May 2004, when he took over the reins of the Surrey RCMP and led the largest detachment in the country.
He was promoted to chief superintendent in 2005, and given the rank of assistant commissioner in 2010.
He even earned the distinction of becoming a member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, being vested by Governor-General Michaelle Jean at Rideau Hall in Ottawa in May 2010.
While his success is automatically measured by his rise through the ranks, MacRae said it was never about that for him.
“It has been about the privilege of being a member of the force, the work that we do, and the people who make up this organization.”
He had many mentors, many role models, many people who helped him, and many who gave him opportunities.
“For that, I will always be grateful. All those individuals have contributed to the richness of my career.”
In addition to thanking the RCMP members and community people who made it possible, the retired officer in charge acknowledged the support of his family, Deb, Will, Taylor, and Allison. He describing them as his foundation and thanked them for putting up with his preoccupation with work, his absences, the long hours, and times of stress.
“I could not have had the career I’ve had without them. They have grounded me and provided me with a daily reminder of what is really important in life.”
He officially joined the ranks of the retired on June 1, and said a new chapter awaits both him and his wife Debbie.
“I want to thank all of you for being here today,” he said, adding: “Thanks doesn’t seem to be quite enough, but will have to do.”