Cpl. Stew MacMillan, the new RCMP Corporal at the Lillooet detachment, says Lillooet reminds him of his home province of Manitoba.
“People I’ve met so far are very laid back, very relaxed, it’s not rush-rush-rush go-go-go. There’s time to say ‘Hi.’ There’s time to be courteous and that’s something I’ve missed. Victoria is not like that,” says the affable MacMillan. “That was the first thing I recognized that I like about Lillooet – the people.”
MacMillan joined the Mounties in October 1992. His first posting was to Williams Lakes, which he says gave him a variety of experiences in many aspects of police work and investigation. After eight years there, he was transferred to the West Shore detachment in Victoria, where he served for 10-and-half years prior to his recent promotion to Lillooet.
“Each community has its own style of policing and different needs,” he explains. “West Shore was unique because we dealt with five mayors, five city councils and worked with the nearby municipal police forces. That really gave me a unique concept of team work by working with all the different forces and agencies.”
It was natural for MacMillan to pursue a career in policing – his father was a 36-year-member of the RCMP. MacMillan grew up in towns of 500 people with rural police stations with attached living quarters.
“You very much became a part of the community; everybody knew my dad the corporal and everybody knew his kids,” he remembers. “Coming to a town like Lillooet gives me an opportunity to do the small-town policing that my dad did.”
He says policing is much more personal in a small town. “I like people, I like meeting people. I’ve been told I communicate well; I like to hear both sides of every story because there always are two sides. A lot of times people need to be heard; they need their side to be heard.”
In addition to Lillooet’s friendliness and small-town pace, MacMillan says he’s enjoying the “wonderful” recreation opportunities the area provides. “We’ve done some hiking already. My wife and I took our dogs and drove up to Fountain Lake and watched the trout running through the creek.”
He adds that he drove to Bralorne on his first night shift since joining the local detachment. “Two and a half out and two and a half hours back. It’s a good thing it wasn’t an emergency.”
He’s still chuckling about how he found a place to rent here.
“I found a message from a lady in Ottawa who’s married to an inspector and she said ‘I hear you’re looking for a place to live.’ I was thinking, ‘Ottawa knows already. Wow, is this ever a small town!”
It turned out the Ottawa woman’s mother lives on Park Drive and someone told someone who told someone that MacMillan was looking for accommodation.
“I’d already found a place, but we have two other members coming to town,” MacMillan continues. “We may have already taken care of accommodations for those two just because of the communication you have in a small town and how fast the word goes out.”