Cst. Shawn Ingham loves his job.
Ingham, the newest member of the RCMP detachment in Oliver, welcomed a transfer here after spending the first 16 years of his career in northern B.C. — first in Fort St. John and later his hometown of Prince George.
Since arriving in the Okanagan in December, he’s made an immediate impact on the community.
“It’s been a beautiful — well you guys call it winter, I call it fall,” he joked in reference to the Okanagan’s weather.
“You don’t have to look too far out the window. It’s a beautiful area. I’ve been in the north my whole life and this is a nice change of pace. Small-town policing is great because you get to know people right away. It’s a tight-knit community with everyone looking out for everyone.”
During his youth, he played in a minor hockey tournament in Osoyoos several times over the years and his family would often return in the summer for a vacation.
Ingham is a general duty constable and is also trained as a crisis negotiator.
One of the perks of being a Mountie compared with a member of a municipal force is the ability to move around the country.
Growing up, he played lacrosse, football and hockey and dabbled in high school volleyball. Many of his hours after school were spent at the boxing gym where he had an amateur career and later coached.
It was here that he learned teamwork, something that’s essential in policing.
“Even the guys I fought against in boxing, there was a mutual respect and we’d go hard, but hang out afterwards,” he recalls.
He looks forward to when his son — who soon turns seven — starts playing lacrosse.
Ingham began his professional life as a machinist before moving to corrections. He did his police training at the DEPOT division in Regina, an intensive 24-week program.
His father encouraged him to learn a trade because it’s always something you can fall back on. But becoming a police officer was always something he wanted to do.
“Even way back in kindergarten, I remember we were asked to fill out what we wanted to do (as a career). I said I wanted to be a please-man,” he chuckles.
While mainstream media generally reports the negative aspects of policing, Ingham focuses on what’s good.
“I love my job,” he said. “The good parts are putting smiles on people’s faces, making them happy. Just the relief some people feel and the calmness when a police officer shows up. Whether it’s helping locate their missing child or finding a lost dog, it’s great being able to help people.
“There are bad parts, but I try to outweigh the good parts with the bad. Often people will focus on the 10% of what’s bad about a job. I always try and focus on the 90% of the good things.”
He also enjoys the PR aspect of his job. He agreed to this interview because it was an opportunity to promote the positive work Mounties do at a time when they’re often lambasted in mainstream media.
While in the north, Ingham was a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officer and also helped with a bike program for children.
Sgt. Don Wrigglesworth, the detachment commander in Oliver, said he was instantly impressed with Ingham’s positive attitude describing him as “an excellent addition to our detachment.
Special thanks to the Penticton Herald and Editor James Miller