First Surrey Police Department officer to die in the line of duty 94 years ago honoured

IN June 1927, a 26-year-old man from Abbotsford named George McDonald joined the Surrey Police Department. He took up residence in Cloverdale and began working with the small police force (three police officers, a Chief and two auxiliary members) that began in 1887, shortly after Surrey’s incorporation in 1879.

Unfortunately, Constable McDonald’s law enforcement career was cut tragically short by an on-duty motor vehicle crash. On September 4, 1927, at 3:30 p.m., he was riding a motorcycle, conducting traffic enforcement on Pacific Highway, when he engaged in a pursuit of a speeding motorist. During the brief pursuit, the officer attempted to avoid a farm vehicle entering the roadway when his motorcycle was clipped and veered into oncoming traffic. McDonald received medical assistance at the scene and was transported to Royal Columbian Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries on September 9, 1927.

Constable McDonald’s nephew Lloyd Atchison and SPS Chief Constable Norm Lipinski.

Ninety-four years later, on September 9, 2021, Surrey Police Service and some of McDonald’s family joined together for the unveiling of a framed photo and two engraved door plaques which will remain in prominent locations in the SPS buildings to recognize the first Surrey police officer who died in the line of duty.

McDonald is also among the honoured in the BC Law Enforcement Memorial and was successfully nominated by SPS Chief Constable Norm Lipinski for inclusion in the Canadian Police and Peace Officers National Memorial in 2022.

SPS said they hope the citizens of Surrey will join McDonald’s family, Surrey Police Service and the Provincial and National Policing Memorial organizations in honouring a hero who served his community and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Lloyd Atchison and wife Marlyn.