A “Major” Step Forward for Women: Introducing Staff Sergeant Major Beth McAndie

Beth McAndie
Beth McAndie
Beth McAndie

Surrey: This Wednesday, March 8th, marks International Women’s Day and a chance to recognize the contributions of over 500 female police officers, staff and volunteers at Surrey 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 Staff Sergeant Major.

Not everyone can remember the exact moment they decided on a certain career path. However, Staff Sergeant Major Beth McAndie 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 Dawson Creek, BC. Rosemary made a lasting impression on five year old Beth, and 16 years later, Beth got the chance 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.

Beth McAndie with her kids
Beth McAndie with her kids

“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 of 2016 she took on the role of Staff Sergeant Major for Surrey Detachment, the first female to occupy the position at the Detachment.

The role of the Staff Sergeant Major has evolved from its traditional roots which focused on drill, dress, and deportment. Today, Staff Sergeant Majors 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!