You never know how someone will touch your life — just ask Steve Walker, a retired RCMP officer and now the national president of the RCMP Veterans’ Association. He has amassed nearly 40 years of service to the RCMP along the way.
Walker came from Buchans, which could be considered a hotbed of youth drawn to police work due in part, Walker says, to the many great RCMP officers who served the community over the years.
“There have been a lot of RCMP and RNC officers from Buchans. It had a lot to do with the interaction of the members with the children in the area,’’ Walker said.
“They coached us kids in hockey, in softball, and served as role models for us. The one whom I credit the most as being that role model was Const. Lee Fraser — originally from Nova Scotia — who got involved in the softball program.’’
After high school, Walker studied at Memorial University prior to joining the RCMP in 1980. He and his wife, Michelle, currently reside in Winnipeg and have two adult daughters. He is a member of the association’s Manitoba division.
Walker said he would have been happy to work in his home province after leaving Depot — his wife is from Newfoundland as well — but over time, that wasn’t to materialize.
Instead, he worked his way through a host of posts and positions in Manitoba prior to retiring.
“The RCMP provided me with a good life, filled with many opportunities." — Steve Walker
He served in “D” Division (Manitoba) in small towns, First Nations and isolated posts, along with stints in organized crime and major crime investigative units.
Walker joined the vets association in 2012.
“The RCMP provided me with a good life, filled with many opportunities,’’ he said.
He spent nearly a year as a secondee to the Ottawa Police Service, and acted as lead investigator and case manager for the investigation into the RCMP pension and insurance plans.
In addition, he testified before Parliament’s public accounts committee, and following the committee hearings all moneys from the pension and insurance plans that were spent questionably were returned.
Through his involvement with the RCMP pension finance oversight, he collaborated on the permanent changes made to reporting and accountability procedures.
Members of the RCMP vets continue to promote activities that are in the best interest of Canada and they constantly communicate and aid regular members of the RCMP.
“I wanted to ensure we modernize the way we do business,’’ he said.
“The younger people now are more technically savvy, and I wanted to make sure we offered that to the membership.”
He is big on advocacy — veterans helping veterans — in addition to communications, where the membership gets a steady stream of reliable information. There is an advocate for this part of the system based in Prince Edward Island. She deals with matters or problems to help get answers and assistance to members from Victoria to St. John’s.
The Newfoundland Labrador division of the RCMP Veterans’ Association was organized in 1977 with 53 former members of the RCMP. The division now has 289 members across the province who work in support of many community and charitable organizations and events.
It also engages in other volunteer projects such as feeding the homeless and participates in the N.L. Police and Peace Officers Memorial Association.
Walker’s one-year term is up in June and he plans to re-offer as president.
Walker hopes he will be fortunate enough to regain the position so he can continue helping retired members of the RCMP Veterans’ Association in addition to serving on a host of advisory committees.
“I do sit on a lot of committees with the RCMP. I want to expand the advocacy programs. I am fairly busy each day, dealing with eight-10 emails,’’ he said
“It is my hope to be voted back in, so I can continue to be active.”