Our People - Behind the badge
A look at St. Albert's newest top cop
By: By Ryan Tumilty
| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 06:00 am
Kevin Murray: Q&A
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
"When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a farmer, but as I grew I realized allergies were really going to be a factor."
"Field of Dreams."
"People that don't give you the attention you deserve."
If you didn't do this what do you think you would do?
"I had an interest in commerce, so I might have headed down the accounting path."
What would you like to see written on your tombstone?
"That I really tried to make a difference."
The city's new top cop is a family man with a family in transit, as he takes the reins of the St. Albert RCMP detachment.
Kevin Murray is still waiting for the paperwork on his promotion to inspector, but he has been running the St. Albert detachment since late April.
Along with warmer weather, Murray left behind his wife and two children at his last posting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island.
“It is difficult being here without them,” says Murray.
Murray's daughter will join him this fall when she starts at the University of Alberta, but his wife and son will be another year behind.
Murray's wife Suzanne said it is tough on the family, but better for their son in the long term.
“We will get through it and I would rather do that then take my son out of high school.”
The Murrays have also been making good use of technology with phone calls, text messages and email and daily Skype video chats.
“With Skype, I literally see him, he's not here, but I see him every single day,” says Suzanne.
Moving also isn't new for the family, which has followed Murray through half a dozen postings over his 23-year RCMP career.
The family has been rotated through British Columbia with stops in Prince George, McBride, Kimberley, Gold River, Port Alice and then Port Alberni.
Murray said in a strange way the moves have brought the family closer together.
“I think we are a close family because we did move. When you move you only have your family when you first arrive; the family sorts of hangs out together a lot.”
Suzanne agrees, and said trying new experiences, making new friends and learning about new communities has been good for their children.
“It has been good, it has made my kids all-around kids who are well adapted.”
She said each of the moves has offered something different.
“We look at each move as a new adventure and we like living in different communities and meeting different people in the different communities.”
Road not taken
Before the RCMP gave Murray a career it rejected him. A life in the red serge was an idea he had essentially abandoned when he got a letter in 1988.
Murray first applied right out of high school, but at the time the force was looking to diversify its ranks and was looking for more university educated officers.
Raised on a farm, near the four-street community of Graysville, Man., as a child Murray wanted to be a farmer, but dust allergies quickly made that unrealistic.
After the RCMP turned him down, he worked in Manitoba's parks department and spent a summer caring for a golf course before going to school in Ontario for golf-course management.
“It was kind of like a clean farming, no dust.”
But before he could spend a life on the links, the RCMP unearthed his then five-year-old application and asked him to consider applying again.
Murray also hadn't completely abandoned a career in policing and had applied to the Winnipeg police. He first applied to Winnipeg in 1984, but was told a childhood history of asthma disqualified him. When he applied again in 1988 he was accepted, but before he could accept the offer the RCMP came knocking.
He knows he came close to joining an entirely different force.
“If I had got on in 1984 with them, absolutely I am sure I would be in Winnipeg and I would have 28 years with them.”
Forced to choose in 1988, he said he ultimately wanted the chance to see more of Canada and felt a connection with the Mounties.
“I had cousins in the RCMP and that was the police jurisdiction where I grew up as well.”
Taking on the detachment commander position has been a shift for Murray who has had a career largely in general duty policing. He was the detachment commander just before leaving Port Alberni as well, but St. Albert is a larger community.
He said being a detachment commander is completely different than regular policing.
“When you are in charge of a detachment your role is really different. You are looking after the overall administration,” he said. “You are making sure that you have got people and that the people have the training and the equipment to do the job.”
After serving most of his career in B.C., Murray said he didn't know the ins and outs of policing here. He said he has had to make new contacts and learn what makes Alberta different, but it is starting to click.
“I have been here three months now and every day I come in it just feels great, it feels natural to be here.”