Beth McAndie, Surrey’s First Female Staff Sergeant Major – By Ray Hudson
This past week, in light of International Women’s Day, the Surrey RCMP recognized the contributions of over 500 female police officers, staff and volunteers at Surrey’s Detachment. This year’s campaign theme is “Be Bold for Change,” something that Beth McAndie exemplifies and champions in her newest role as the Surrey RCMP’s first female Staff Sergeant Major.
At the age of five, Officer McAndie, living in Dawson Creek, BC, clearly recalls the polished boots, police uniform, confidence, and kindness of Rosemary, a family friend and the only female police officer at that time in the northeastern BC community. Sixteen years later, Beth got to wear her own pair of high brown boots and red serge for her graduation ceremony from Depot in Regina.
If there’s a common thread in Staff Sergeant Major McAndie’s 19+ years with the RCMP, it has been a willingness to jump in, learn, and grow from each opportunity.
“Nobody will do it for you, Beth,” she was told by one of her first bosses and mentors in the RCMP. Those words helped her navigate through a range of operational policing duties from general duty to major crime units investigating sexual offences and historic unsolved homicides, and participating in undercover projects.
In May 2016 she took on the role of Staff Sergeant Major for Surrey Detachment, the first female to occupy the position at the Detachment. Traditionally, that role was focused on drill, dress, and deportment whereas today they are tasked with being stewards of the profession of policing, acting as mentors, advisors and communicators up and down the RCMP chain of command.
“I’m the third of four sisters in my family, so fairness is really important to me,” laughs McAndie. “I see my role as engaging with and supporting our police officers, championing for change and bringing the voices of our front line people forward to our Officer in Charge and Senior Leadership Team.”
Beyond her professional accomplishments, she is proud of what she describes as the biggest challenge and reward of her life, her nine-year-old daughter and three-year-old son.
“I want to be a good role model for my kids and teach them that the only thing that will hold them back is their inability to see themselves being successful,” she explains. “My parents moved to Canada to ensure their kids would have every opportunity they never had. As a first generation Canadian, it is my responsibility to make the best of every opportunity I am given, no matter how great or small.”
A proud moment for Staff Sergeant Major McAndie was a recent trip to Regina for the National RCMP Memorial, accompanied by her nine-year-old daughter. As for her three-year-old, he thinks the uniform is cool, but still insists he wants to be a firefighter…for now!