Nothing could wipe the smile off Insp. Jim McCardell’s face last week as his daughter joined the ranks of the Vancouver Police Department.
“It was unbelievable,” he told the Vancouver Courier after his daughter, Tsawwassen resident and South Delta Secondary grad Madison McCardell, was sworn in along with 18 of the newest members of the department.
Madison is now the third generation of the McCardell family to serve with VPD. Her father, who currently oversees the department’s emergency response team, K9 unit and negotiators, is a 33-year veteran of the force. His father, Percy McCardell, also served with VPD, retiring as a staff sergeant in 1972 after 33 years.
“We’ll be closing in on 100 (years) once she retires in 2050, I guess,” said Jim.
Madison started thinking about following in her father’s and grandfather’s footsteps in Grade 9 after spending the day at work with her dad.
“It was take your kid to work day and that showed me a bit of each department,” she said, adding she decided she wanted to pursue a degree in kinesiology first.
She studied at the University of B.C. Okanagan and after graduating with a bachelor of arts in human kinetics was hired by VPD as a special constable in 2017 and started working at the jail. She said the experience working in the jail helped confirm she wanted to go into policing, something that had always been a part of her life.
“I grew up with the police department,” she said. “I went to events, I went to Christmas parties, a lot of our family friends are respected police officers, so it’s just being around the environment and working in the jail… that kind of pushed me in the right direction. It just helped reassure me that this is what I wanted to do.”
Things have changed since her grandfather Percy joined the VPD during the Second World War.
“He told me stories growing up and he said when he got hired, which was of course during the war, they gave him a billy club and a gun and he was in a suit and they said you need to walk from here to here on Fraser Street and that’s how you started,” Jim said. “Things have changed a lot, they really support these kids with lots of training.”
There was also another South Delta connection to this year’s recruit class. Const. Edward Saxton was born in Germany and grew up in England until the age of 14. He immigrated to Canada with his family in 2004. After graduating from SDSS, he worked in the grocery and hotel industries and took opportunities to travel the world.
In 2013, he graduated from BCIT with an electronics certificate and joined the Canadian Armed Forces. After basic training he was posted to construction engineering in Comox. He served one tour of duty in Kuwait, and another in Inuvik, Northwest Territories.
The new recruits will now spend most of the rest of the year in training at the Justice Institute of B.C. before hitting the streets of Vancouver.