Born and raised in Port Hope, Ontario, Alan moved west in 1975 after joining the RCMP. After training in Regina, Al was transferred to The Pas Rural Detachment. It was in The Pas that he met his wife, Johanna, and they had two children Andy and Peter.
Al spent 3 years on The Pas Rural Detachment mainly responsible for policing the community of Moose Lake, a “fly-in” community at the time where one or two members would travel by plane from The Pas and spend time in the community. For the first year, the RCMP did not have a vehicle in the community and they would borrow a vehicle from Lamb’s Store. Most of the time, Al would patrol the community on foot, allowing a close interaction with community people.
This set the base for Al’s policing style for the next 25 years.
In 1979, Al was transferred to The Pas Municipal Detachment. While at this detachment he introduced Operation Identification and Operation Provident into the community. This was a community wide program, which saw a partnership between community groups and the RCMP in having materials marked for identification. A number of students were hired to distribute educational material and assist people in marking their materials. This was the first time that this program had been offered to this degree in the community.
In 1980, Al and his family were transferred to Brandon where he worked on the Highway Patrol unit. When he was stationed in Brandon, he became involved in media releases on the subject of Drinking and Driving. This involved all aspects of the media including print, radio and T.V.
In 1982 Al was transferred to Norway House Detachment. While in Norway House he was responsible for policing the communities of God’s Lake Narrows, the Island Lake Communities, and Oxford House. These were “fly in” communities where sometimes one or two members would fl to the community to spend up to seven days offering policing services. During this time Al worked closely with Band Constables and saw a need for training for these Constables. He organized a series of training sessions, with him acting as the facilitator on subjects such as report writing, exhibit processing, services of court documents, and note taking.
In 1985 there was a change in Al’s duties that saw him staying in Norway House. During this time the Norway House High School Students were publishing a T.V. Guide as a fundraiser for school activities. However, “circulation” and sales were lacking.
Al also noted that, when talking to community residents there was a general lack of understanding in the activities of the detachment. Al approached the High School and was able to offer weekly police reports that could be published in the T.V.Guide. After word spread around the community about the police reports, the TV guide sold out in no time. The school was extremely happy that they could now raise money for their activities and the detachment was happy that a positive message was able to get to the community. This forum was used for standard police reports and other articles of interest by the detachment.
In 1986 Al and the family were transferred back to The Pas and worked on the rural detachment. During this time Al was instrumental in forming the Moose Lake Youth Group. This group was aligned with the local church and offered positive activities for youth in this troubled community, including a youth drop-in center.
Al was awarded with a Honorary President for Life by the youth group when he was transferred from the community.
In 1989 Al was transferred to The Pas Municipal Plainclothes Unit. During this time, he was responsible for major crimes and drug infractions. He was involved in many drug talks, media releases on major crimes and on crime prevention initiatives. He was president of Rotary for one year and started the Bill Bannock Fishing Derby- at that time the only fishing derby in the north.
In 1990 Al was transferred to Pukatawagan Detachment in the role of Detachment Commander. Al opened the detachment and he and his members set the stage for a community-based detachment. The detachment members were involved in a number of activities including sports days, activities at Christmas, and School talks. Al, as the detachment commander, was responsible for meetings with the Chief and Council, training the Band Constables so that they could be included in the overall policing of the community. Training sessions included report writing, proper form completion, note taking and exhibit seizure and processing. This was a new approach for the community and provided an increased sense of pride on the part of the Band Constables.
In addition, Al was instrumental in getting the Pukatawagan Justice Committee off the ground. This community-based committee started off small and then grew to be the model for other First Nations communities in Canada.
One other initiative that Al worked on while in Pukatawagan was the Junior Chief and Council. Al organized the first Junior Chief and Council and acted as their police advisor during his stay in the community.
Al and his family were transferred from Pukatawagan in 1992 and he was presented with a framed Eagle Feather from the Mathias Colomb First Nation Chief and Council. The inscription read:
“This eagle feather is presented to Alan McLauchlan, in recognition of your hard work and understanding towards the concept of Missinippi First Nation Self Government.”
In 1992 Al and his family were transferred to The Pas Detachment where he stayed until his retirement.
I n The Pas his duties as a Shift Supervisor included the supervision of 5 junior constables and acting as the Detachment Sergeant when called upon to do so. Al was also the Search Manager for the area and conducted scores of searches for lost and missing persons. Al was the Hostage and Barricaded Negotiator for the area and completed several successful negotiations. Al was the major fire investigator, ATV instructor and Boat instructor.
During this time, he attended a course in Community Justice Forums and then became an instructor in this restorative justice program. Al embraced this method of dealing with offenders’ especially young offenders. He conducted scores of forums thereby diverting people from the justice system and improving the lives of the community and the offender. Al also took the program and traveled to other communities to train people in those communities.
Al was also the supervisor with the fledgling Victim Services Unit. This was a new program to the area and of course had many start up problems. Al and the unit’s managers worked together to find innovative solutions to common start up problems. The Pas Victim Services Unit became a model for others in the Province.
Al was also responsible for media releases and conducted these releases to a variety of media including television, radio and print.
Al also re-instituted foot patrols of the downtown core of The Pas. He encouraged his subordinates to leave the vehicles at the detachment and to get out on foot. Not to be outdone Al would himself participate in the foot patrols during the shifts he worked. He would take new members on foot around the area to introduce them to the area and the people.
Al was also instrumental in obtaining two bicycles for the detachment and he started a Bike Patrol in the community. This patrol saw four members being outfitted with bike clothing. The patrol unit, during their free work time, would patrol the town and OCN. This again was a new approach to policing the community and was well received.
Al formed a close relationship with Opaskwayak Cree Nation Band Constables. OCN had sent their officers to Regina and Brandon for training. When the officers returned back to the community, they resumed the old duties that they had performed before training. Al thought this was a lack of critical resources and instituted a program that saw OCN members investigating crimes on OCN. As with any new program there were bumps and problems, but all in all the program worked well. Several of these OCN Constables have been absorbed into the RCMP with the Tri -Party agreement that was signed with OCN and the RCMP.
In the community, during this period, skateboarding was becoming popular. As with any new sport there was a misunderstanding between older residents and the skateboarders. Police received many complaints from community residents and when Al spoke to the skateboarders they felt they were being picked on.
In a novel approach, that received national attention, the skateboarders were invited to skate once a night in the basement of the RCMP Detachment. The Pas Detachment has the only underground parking garage in the community and once a week the cars were cleared out. The skateboarders took over the parking garage and practiced their sport. Parents, teachers and other police officer were invited to come and watch and this event became a social outing for some families. This was also a novel way of increasing the interaction between police and the youth of our community.
In 2001 Al retired from the RCMP and moved onto a new career in education at the college level. AL was an instructor at the University College of the North in the Law Enforcement Program. Upon his arrival he introduced new courses to help his students in preparation for application to police forces. All his students are trained Community Justice Forum Facilitators which allowed this program to be utilized in other communities that may not have had the opportunity to participate in a program such as this. Almost 100 students have now been trained in CJF’s. Al formed a partnership with The Pas Detachment where Law Enforcement Students will be called upon to perform CJF’s for the RCMP. This allows both the students to get valuable experience and the community to benefit.
Al taught a program called Community Problem Solving. This would have been an easy course to teach, standing in front of a class and providing information. Al took another approach. In this course the students receive twenty-five hours of instruction on problem solving and working with the community. Then they are set free to work with the communities of The Pas, OCN and R.M. of Kelsey to locate a community problem. The students have to interview stakeholders, locate a problem, find a solution and report back to the stakeholders on their results. This course is very stressful for some students and always the students come up with a novel and interesting approach to a common problem. Problems in the past have included bullying, theft from vehicles, school parking problems and drugs.
One other course that Al instructs is a course on Volunteering. In this course students are introduced to the concept of volunteering and its benefits. After the instruction students are required to volunteer for 40 hours in the community. This has dual benefits- firstly for the community; it provides a pool of volunteers to assist non-profit agencies. Secondly, the course provides students with real life experience in working in non-profit agencies, thereby setting the seed for a lifetime of volunteering. One student performed in excess of 1200hrs of volunteer time during the school year to a youth center in The Pas.
In 2005 Al was instrumental in forming The Pas Social Planning Committee. This committee was formed in response to the need for a social voice in the cry against gangs and crime.
The Pas Social Planning Committee is a loose group of representatives of social, educational and justice agencies in the communities. The group meets once every 2 months and discusses issues that member agencies are involved in. It is hoped that this increased dialogue will assist member agencies in an increased understanding and the non duplication of services to the community.
One activity that the committee sponsored was the Community Ambassador program. In 2005, with a grant from Manitoba Justice and Manitoba Department of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, four students were hired to patrol the streets of The Pas. The students worked two shifts whch provided coverage from 10am to 3am. The students would walk the streets and used bicycles to patrol and look for crime. This program was extremely successful and had an extra benefit that the Ambassadors were champions for the area with tourists- handing out tourist information and providing directions to attractions.
In 2010 Al was elected as Mayor of The Pas and served in that position until 2014. He was able to strengthen ties with neighboring communities and established the first Community Development Committee for the community. Al also presided over the communities’ Centennial year. Al as Mayor signed the first ever Aboriginal Friendship Accord for our community along with Chief Constant and Reeve Bersowicki.
In 2013 Al retired from UCN and started a consulting business which he still operates.
In 2017 Al was hired by Travel Manitoba to assist in the promotion of the Northern Tourism Strategy. The goal of the strategy is to increase visitation to northern Manitoba. Al worked with small businesses, tourism operators and community groups to develop product for tourists to experience when they visit the north. Al left this position in 2021.
Al and Johanna have five grandchildren which they enjoy spending time with.
Throughout his 40 years in the justice field Al has been involved in different committees. Some of these are-The Pas Rotary Club- President,
– Bill Bannock Fishing Derby- co- founder and organizer
– Jimmy Jackfish Fishing Derby- co-founder
– Sam Waller Museum Board
– Club 53 Youth Center- co-founder
– Rocky Lake East Shore Recreation Committee
– Rocky Lake Waste Management Committee
– Manitoba Indigenous Summer Games- Security Chair
– M.T.S. Winter Games- VIP Security
– Royal Canadian Legion- Member 45 years
– The Pas and District Chamber of Commerce- Vice President
– Manitoba Health Appeal Board- member
– Opasquia Trails- Fundraising Chair
Al has received the following awards:
Twenty-five year Bronze Clasp from RCMP 1999
Muskrat Hat Award Opasquia Times Newspaper -for community service- 1999
Twenty Year Good Conduct Medal- RCMP 1995
Eagle Feather for Community Work- Chief and Council, Mathias Colomb First Nation- 1991
Honorary President for Life- Moose Lake Youth Group- 1989
R.C.M.P Veterans Association-
Royal Canadian Legion
Opasquia Trails Inc.