March 25, 2013 - 5:03 PM
By Julie Whittet
Kelowna RCMP Superintendent, Bill McKinnon, seems to have saved his goodbyes for this afternoon's city council meeting. He spoke publicly today, for the first time since notice of his retirement caught wind last week.
After receiving a small token of appreciation from Mayor Walter Gray, on behalf of the City, McKinnon paused for photos with local press. He then stepped up to the microphone and told the room why he was stepping down after 38 years of policing.
“I think we all have a best (before) date and I'm probably at that point right now.”
He divided his nine years with the Kelowna RCMP into “3,250 days... that's 108 months I've been in charge of the detachment."
"It's been the best job I've ever had, and it's been the most challenging job I've ever had.”
He referred specifically to the 2003 fires in Kelowna as one of the greatest challenges in his career.
McKinnon said he was very proud to have worked alongside Ron Mattiussi, former director of emergency operations, to evacuate 30,000 people from the city.
“I think still to this day, it was the largest evacuation in Canadian history.”
He recalled the day Mattiussi came to him and said, "can you put a plan together to evacuate the whole city?” McKinnon says it was, "one of the times I was most fearful in my role as chief of police of this community."
He also wanted to go on record saying how much he enjoyed working with former Mayor of Kelowna, Sharon Shepherd.
"We had a wonderful relationship the entire time she was in place.”
One regret he shared, going into retirement, will be missing out on the anticipated re-construction of Kelowna's RCMP headquarters.
“We're due for a new building and I just wish I was going to be around long enough to actually see that and have been a part of that,” he said.
McKinnon's brief and unexpected appearance at City Hall this afternoon did not allow for any questions from the public, or press.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250) 718-0428.
(JULIE WHITTET /InfoTel Multimedia)
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013