Sooke RCMP officers work long hours protecting the community, and a local group is planning to build a sculpture to honour the officers for their service.
“The statue will represent every type of working officer that we have,” said Rosanne Day, organizer of the project. “It is is intended to demonstrate our appreciation, support, and be a permanent reminder of our gratitude.”
After the death of West Shore RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett in 2016, and recent vandalism in Sooke saying harsh words towards the police, the group thought police officers weren’t getting the recognition they deserve for their unwavering dedication.
“We need a bigger and louder voice than the person who thought it was a good idea to spray paint “F” the police on Wadams Way recently,” Day said.
“We need to create a positive message for police because they deserve one, and we need to give recognition they do not have to die for.”
Planning for the statue is still in the planning stages, as the group still has to fundraise for the project, with a total budget estimated at $88,000.
The sculpture is planned to be made by Saanich artist Nathan Smith, who also made the Terry Fox sculpture at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, and the Homecoming navy sculpture at the Inner Harbour in Victoria.
The $78,000 life-size statue will be made of copper, and will resemble someone very familiar to the Sooke community: Staff Sgt. Jeff McArthur.
“We chose him because, for one, he’s a good example for Sooke, two, he’s a great example of a working RCMP officer, and three, he’s an excellent human being,” said Day.
“In November 2016, I had the worst time of my life, and he happened to be the one that was there, and he made me feel safe. That’s what it’s all about.”
Sooke artist Linda Gordan photographed McArthur, and then drew up a painting for what the sculpture will look like.
Gordon, who is also a volunteer and advocate with the group, said she wanted to get involved to thank police for all that they do in Sooke.
“These people are so dedicated,” she said. “Rosanne came up with the idea, and I think it’s just something to show how needed they are in the community.”
The group is hoping to hold their first fundraising event – a policeman’s ball – soon, but no dates have been set. People are welcomed to donate to the project’s Go Fund Me page.
Beside the sculpture, there will also be a monument stone with a written message, and major donors names will be displayed on the back.
Day said she hopes that this statue will be the first of many, and that some day there will be honorary sculptures outside multiple police stations.
“They deserve it. They show up on the worst day of someone’s life and make them feel safe,” said Day. “And that’s is why we feel this needs to be done.”
For more information, visit the group’s Facebook Page: Officer Appreciation Statue.