ON April 14, Richmond RCMP unveiled a plaque commemorating Chief Constable Alexander (Sandy) Main who was murdered while investigating a theft of farm tools on this date 123 years ago.
At the time of his death, Main was Richmond’s Chief of Police, and in fact Richmond’s only police officer. His salary was $75 a month, and he was murdered while investigating a theft of farm tools in what is now the Steveston area.
“Chief Constable Main was not a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but he is an important figure in policing in what is now part of the City of Richmond,” noted Chief Superintendent Dave Chauhan. “He was the first police officer killed in the line of duty here, and it’s important that we remember him.”
No one currently at Richmond RCMP was aware of Chief Main’s story, and it may have been lost to history had one of the members not discovered it on social media recently. Long-time local resident Scott Stewart posted the story in April of 2022, but he had originally discovered it many years earlier while reading a book on capital punishment in Canada.
“We must not forget our history,” said Stewart. “We must not forget the risks taken by those who protect us.”
Stewart found Main’s story so compelling that he became heavily involved in the successful push to have his name added to the Canadian Police and Peace Officer’s Memorial in Ottawa after its creation in 1996. Locally, the plaque commemorating Main is on display along the ‘Wall of Honour’ in the Staff Sergeant Walter P. Tyrrell Atrium Museum at Richmond RCMP.
A full depiction of the Murder in Steveston: Sandy Main story can be found online or at the City of Richmond Archives (Biography files Alexander Main).