Const. Ian MacDonald is retiring from the Abbotsford Police Department after 22 years. (Abbotsford News file photo)

Abbotsford Police former media officer retires from force after 22 years

Const. Ian MacDonald spent eight years as public information officer

The man who served as the face of the Abbotsford Police for eight years retires this week after almost 22 years with the department.

Const. Ian MacDonald is spending his last day on Friday with a task that he has done many times over the years – speaking to a class of journalism students at the B.C. Institute of Technology.

MacDonald was the Abbotsford Police Department’s public information officer (PIO) from 2009 until the end of 2017.

His role often put him in the spotlight, as he relayed information to the public – through the media – about events that ranged from the tragic to the comical.

He said there is one thing he will miss most about his job.

“I’ve always liked dealing with and working with people. Twenty-five years ago, when I was working in HR as director of administration for a restaurant and food service company, a VP started my performance review by stating, ‘Ian, you like people. We don’t,’ ” MacDonald laughs.

He said he is now looking forward to spending more time with his family, scuba diving and travelling – “maybe write a book on a beach somewhere.”

MacDonald went into policing in 1997 at the age of 31 after an eight-year stint in the restaurant industry.

MacDonald was hired by the APD in 1997, completed his training, and then worked in patrol, followed by a period as a trainer for a new records management system known as PRIME.

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Then-PIO Sgt. Casey Vinet began pestering MacDonald to apply for the PIO position when Vinet’s stint neared its end, but MacDonald initially had no interest – that is, until he was told that then Chief Bob Rich wanted him to do it.

MacDonald had great respect for his boss, and that’s all he needed to hear. But he wasn’t sure he was the right person for the job.

“I candidly said, ‘Listen, I have no training. I tend to talk. Public speaking isn’t an issue, but public shutting up is an issue for me,’ ” he said.

Since moving on from the PIO position, MacDonald has been instrumental in the development of the APD’s mentoring program, which currently has 25 volunteer mentors and 26 at-risk youth.

He has also been a key player in the Project Angel program in response to the opioid crisis. The program helps connect people to treatment and recovery, including through connections with those who have been through it.

MacDonald was also involved in a research project at University of the Fraser Valley that looked at the Abbotsford gang situation, including the paths that lead people to becoming involved.

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Vikki Hopes | Reporter

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