The passion that Const. Rick O’Brien had for his job came through at a Gratitude and Appreciation Summit where he spoke in 2020.
O’Brien’s life was cut short, as he and other members of the Ridge Meadows RCMP came under fire while executing a warrant in Coquitlam on Friday.
O’Brien was killed, another member shot and wounded, and a third RCMP officer injured by a non-gunshot wound. The suspect, Nicholas Bellemare, was apprehended, and faces charges of first degree murder and attempted murder.
The late offer had been a presenter in a Gratitude and Appreciation Summit in 2020, and said in an online video that he was thankful for his job as an RCMP officer.
“To be able to do the job I do now is so rewarding,” said the Mountie, adding that he would use the forum to thank friends and family members who helped him to get that career.
He came into policing in middle age, and at 51 had been an officer for seven years, all with the Ridge Meadows RCMP.
In his first year of service, he and six other officers disrupted a violent home invasion which led to the arrest of four armed suspects. He, along with the other members, received a Commissioner’s Commendation pin and an Award of Valour.
“Before joining the police force, Rick wore lots of hats working as an education assistant, mental health worker, youth worker and held numerous positions as a supervisor for these exact jobs,” read his bio for the Gratitude and Appreciation Summit.
“With this experience, it has given Rick the patience, understanding, desire and work ethic to do his job as a police officer effectively.”
With the RCMP, he was assigned to the Uniformed Community Response Unit. UCRU is a community based policing unit to serve the youth, homeless, mental health and First Nations people in the community, also supporting the general duty members.
“Rick your humbleness, your love and your light will be missed by many near and far,” said the event organizer Jeanette Martin online.
One of many online tributes to the fallen Mountie came from Brittni Drummond, of Maple Ridge, who described his fun interaction with her daughter Rikki earlier in September. Her young daughter met him walking on a hill near their house.
“We saw him hiking back up the big hill back to his car and Rikki was very excited to see a police officer. He offered to walk up to his car with her to give her some stickers. Part way up realizing how big the hill was, he kept offering Rikki to walk to his car and drive back to her with the stickers. Of course Rikki insisted on riding her bike all the way up the hill with her police officer buddy. The entire way back to his car he was cracking jokes and chatting with every neighbor on the street. He was very funny and kind. We only met him once and he made a big impression on us.”
He was born in Ottawa, and lived in Langley with his wife Nicole and their six children.
He was also a member of the Langley Rams Junior football club that plays in the BC Football Conference, and in 2019 he presented the Canadian Bowl Trophy for the national championship.
“Rick was a Langley resident and a big Langley Rams supporter with a heart of gold, always willing to help anyone in need,” said the club online.