When a co-worker commented on Victoria police Insp. Darrell McLean’s need for new boots, McLean spilled the beans.
Sept. 29 was his last day on the job before retirement. McLean planned to leave quietly, but his co-workers from VicPD’s West Division in Esquimalt wouldn’t hear of it.
In an instant, they prepared a send-off, complete with flowers for McLean’s wife Penny. Instead of walking out the door quietly, McLean was in tears, affected by the outpouring of support.
When McLean walked out the back door of the West Division, which he has commanded for over two years, he was overcome with emotion at the sight of two lines of police officers – including personnel from the emergency response and canine teams he’s led – as well as firefighters and municipal staff members.
McLean’s wife and their daughter, Chelsea, looked on while McLean shook hands with and hugged everyone who came to say thank you and farewell. He didn’t make a speech – just smiled and waved when he and his family were taken home in the department’s classic police car.
“He talked the talk and walked the walk,” Const. Chantal Ziegler said of her boss’s leadership style. “Whoever replaces him has big shoes to fill.”
Likewise, Stephen Hussey, a longtime civilian worker at West Division, said everyone enjoyed coming to work when McLean was in charge.
“He was a really great boss, a really great leader,” Hussey said.
McLean clocked 31 years with VicPD. His departure sparked reaction in the form of an email campaign to VicPD Chief Jamie Graham, begging for McLean to stay, from Esquimalt residents who appreciated his community-minded policing style. Graham declined to comment on McLean’s retirement.
“He brought policing back to a standard which we feel is very acceptable,” said Dino Fiorin, president of the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce. “His interest, even though he’s not a resident of Esquimalt, is very much so in policing the municipality. He’s worked very hard to that end.”
Residents say McLean is a highly visible officer, a regular sight on his bike as he patrols the beat.
“Thanks to Darrell, that visibility is becoming a reality,” Fiorin said.
David Ward, chief of the Esquimalt Fire Department, said McLean’s positive relationship with young people in Esquimalt show his dedication to the community.
“Youth are really the best judge of character, I think,” Ward said. “They don’t run away from him, so I think that’s a very good attribute to have.”
Technically, McLean’s last day of work is at the end of October, but he left early due to remaining vacation days.
McLean declined to speak to the News.