Fifty Women for SCCSS - An initiative of: Sunshine Coast Community Services Society

Poppy Hallam

Retired RCMP Staff Sergeant

Poppy is a recently retired RCMP Staff Sergeant who grew up in the Comox Valley and currently resides in Sechelt on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Poppy was born in Queen Charlotte City, Haida Gwaii, an only child of a single parent mother. She witnessed first hand the struggles her mother faced as a divorced woman raising her daughter on her own. Watching her mother persevere and build a healthy life for them instilled in Poppy a strong work ethic and a soft heart.

From an early age, Poppy was drawn to a career and life of giving back to the community. She wanted to become a police officer and realized that dream in 2001, graduating from RCMP Training Academy Depot. As she moved to small towns around BC, she gathered amazing experiences. In her first posting in Port Hardy, Poppy became an advocate for women and children at risk, focusing much attention on sexual assault and child abuse investigations. She aimed to give women and children a voice and do her best to prevent re-victimizing them and creating more trauma for the survivors. Poppy received a commendation for her investigation into a shaken baby case, which was used as a case study for RCMP training.

Poppy had the privilege to immerse herself in Indigenous culture, meeting many elders and connecting with families who shared their stories, teachings, art, and culture. Through that trust, she learned much about resilience, bravery, the horror of residential schools, Indigenous restorative justice practices, and the true meaning of reconciliation. Poppy brought these teachings with her as she moved around the province, advocating for the vulnerable and unhoused.

In 2015, she made it her mission to create a safe place for unhoused residents of Fort St. James. Many Indigenous women, often with their children, did not qualify for transitional housing and were forced to stay in unsafe places to avoid freezing temperatures. During the three years Poppy was there, she was able to engage the Royal Canadian Legion, which donated their building and land to a local Indigenous Nation that opened a low-barrier shelter in the Legion building. This was the first donation of its sort in Canada, and for that, Poppy received an RCMP District Officer award.

Poppy received the Queen’s Jubilee medal for her community service in the small town of Port Alice, BC. It was also during this time that Poppy became a trained crisis negotiator with the emergency response teams both on Vancouver Island and later in Northern BC, where she was involved in negotiating several barricaded subjects and hostage situations, peacefully.

Over the years, Poppy has volunteered with many organizations, including 20 years with Cops for Cancer. She is now a member of the Sunshine Coast Rotary Club and is currently on the Sunshine Coast Minor Hockey Board of Directors. In June 2023, Poppy retired from the RCMP with 22 years of service. She lives in Sechelt with her husband, her two boys, a nanny, and their dog. Her eldest son is deaf and blind and has many physical and cognitive challenges, which he faces with love. Her younger son is an avid hockey goalie, and Poppy enjoys spending time at the rink, keeping score, and cheering him on. She is enjoying her retirement and contributing where she can to help build community.

Poppy made connections in the communities she lived in on Vancouver Island, Northern BC, and now the Sunshine Coast, and believes those connections feel as strongly as she does that housing is a basic human right and we need to work together to create homes, so people can be safe and thrive.

“As a police officer, I saw people on some of their darkest days. I did my best to be a bright light, a beacon they could find when they needed help. I genuinely care about people and I did my best to treat everyone with dignity and a sense of warmth and caring.You never know when your kindness, a smile or a hug, could be the difference in someone’s day.You can impact people in what could seem like the smallest way, yet it can have a life-saving outcome. There is no better life, than a life of service to others. I may have retired, but I am not done, and I am moving onto my next chapter and I see my life as continuing to give back.”
Poppy Hallam
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