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Park bench dedicated to fallen B.C. RCMP officer Rick O’Brien

Fundraiser helps family, friends buy bench honouring Langley officer killed in line of duty

Family and friends of a fallen RCMP officer now have a place in Chilliwack to sit and remember someone they describe as a funny, kind and caring man.

Const. Rick O’Brien Jr. of Langley, 51, died in the line of duty on Sept. 22, 2023 in Coquitlam. Earlier in May, a bench was installed at Farifield Island Park in his memory.

“I love it. It means a lot,” said 25-year-old daughter Cindy O’Brien. “It’s something to remember my dad and my grandmother by. It’s a nice place to come and connect with them when I need to.”

There are two plaques on the bench – one honouring Rick O’Brien, and one engraved with his mother’s name, Patricia O’Brien, who died a year earlier, almost to the day.

The bench was draped with a Canadian flag and unveiled on Tuesday, May 28. More than 50 people were in attendance, including about a dozen police officers.

Cindy and Isaac O’Brien, children of fallen RCMP officer Const. Rick O’Brien, unveil a park bench dedicated to their father at Fairfield Island Park in Chilliwack on Tuesday, March 28, 2024. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Formerly of Chilliwack, O’Brien was a Langley resident at the time of the fatal incident. He was a seven-year member with the Ridge Meadows RCMP and was one of several officers executing a search warrant on a residence in Coquitlam, near the intersection of Pinetree Way and Glen Drive on the evening of Friday, Sept. 22.

READ MORE: Ridge Meadows Mountie killed, 2 other officers injured in Coquitlam incident

Robyn Hall recalled hearing about the incident when it happened, but it didn’t dawn on her until later that she had a connection with O’Brien. She realized she taught his children at Watson Elementary School in Chilliwack.

It was Hall’s idea to have a bench dedicated to O’Brien. She contacted O’Brien’s former colleague and teacher Steve Ball, and together they worked to raise money and get the bench installed. Ball started a GoFundMe and they ended up raising a bit more than the cost of the bench, so the remaining funds will go towards a bursary in O’Brien’s name.

He joined the police force later in life, while he was in his 40s. Before that, he worked for many years in the Chilliwack School District as an education assistant (EA).

“He had a big tolerance for kids,” said father Rick O’Brien Sr.

He also had “wicked sense of humour,” he added.

“Very sarcastic, too. You could throw a joke at him, and he’ll snap right back with another one so quick. It was insane how he could come up with that kind of stuff so fast,” recalled daughter Cindy.

Family and friends of fallen RCMP officer Const. Rick O’Brien pose for a photo during the unveiling of a park bench dedicated to him at Fairfield Island Park in Chilliwack on Tuesday, March 28, 2024. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Ball remembered how he and O’Brien would play pranks on people together when they were teaching.

“He was good-natured, funny, caring. He’d do anything for anybody, especially kids. He was like a little kid,” Ball said. “He loved his job as an EA and always had the passion to become a police officer. Part of me wishes he was still an EA.”

Daughter Cindy said what she misses the most is her father’s voice.

“He wasn’t just a dad, he was also a best friend, someone you could count on and rely on, especially if there were boys involved,” she said.

Hall said the family knew right away where they wanted the bench. She recalled one of O’Brien’s kids pointing to Fairfield Island Park on a map saying “Right there. Right beside the playground because Dad loved kids.”

Many family members live near the park and they go there frequently. The bench faces the playground in the southwest corner of the park.

O’Brien’s sister, Cindy Niezen, spoke during the unveiling ceremony and acknowledged the officers in attendance.

“We, as a family, are very thankful for each and every member. We pray for you guys, we ask that you stay safe. We never imagined that this would happen to our family, but we feel like you guys are an extension of us and you will always be in our thoughts as we carry on each day without him,” she said. “He lives in our hearts and he lives in this bench. He will always be with us.”

People can still donate to the GoFundMe and all money raised will go towards a bursaries for Chilliwack high school students. To donate, go to

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Jenna Hauck

About the Author: Jenna Hauck

I started my career at The Chilliwack Progress in 2000 as a photojournalist.
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