Instead of chasing bad guys this week, Mission RCMP Insp. Pat Walsh is pursuing ocean waves and high mountain tops as he eases into his first week of retirement.
After spending 33 years with the national police force, Walsh tied up loose ends and packed up his office last week, preparing for the next chapter of his life.
Walsh likes to work with a plan. He had goals in his career, strategies to fight crime, and even objectives in his personal life.
As his 55th birthday approached, Walsh knew it was time to move on. Two years ago he and his wife thought about their retirement plans and bought a house in Powell River.
The house is a fixer upper, Walsh admits, and it will keep the couple busy for a while, but the view is fantastic and any time he gets disheartened, all he has to do is step out onto the balcony, take a deep breath and look out at the ocean.
At his retirement lunch celebration April 20, Walsh welcomed visitors to his new home, but warned them to bring a hammer.
The retiring inspector was showered with gifts and good wishes from friends and colleagues as he reminisced about his career.
Walsh grew up in Saint John, NB and spent his rookie year in Vernon. He later worked in a number of communities, including Stewart, Maple Ridge and E-Division headquarters before applying for the job in Mission almost seven years ago.
When people are asked what highlights come to mind, they usually focus on the first and last positions, but Walsh says he’s never had a posting he didn’t enjoy.
“Mission has been my longest posting,” he said. “I wanted to come to Mission; I didn’t want to police anywhere else.”
During his time at the helm here, crime rates in all major categories dropped every year and Walsh implemented a crime reduction strategy focusing on repeat offenders, reoccurring issues, youth and zone constables.
The method has proven successful, but Walsh also credits the community partners with whom he works.
“I’ve taken the detachment to the level it’s at now, but we need fresh ideas to come in to take it further,” he said.
Walsh said he knew it was time to retire “when another life calls out to you that’s stronger than your professional life.”
Time is a commodity and you need to spend it wisely, said Walsh. “You can’t get any more of it.”
Walsh plans to stay active doing what he loves most: sailing, kayaking, fishing, and hiking. And once he’s settled into his new community, he and his wife will surely get involved with it as well.
Some things never change.