Please Send a Car 3/4

Written by Harold McNeill on January 22nd, 2012. Posted in Police Notebook

Oak Bay Police Department

S/Sgt (later Inspector) Charlie Bates (front row, second from right)
(Served with the Oak Bay Police, 1946 – 1976)

Note: this is Part 3 of this four part series. Go to Different Strokes for Part 1
Part 4 Link to Tickets

Once again, better judgment failed to penetrate my clouded my brain as I picked up the phone and called a taxi. While it seemed funny at the moment, after hanging up the phone, I wondered whether the Inspector would appreciate the little joke.

Throughout these stories, I will intersperse a number of anecdotes such as this that have little to do with policing but a lot to do with explaining the camaraderie that existed within our department. In every department, whether large or small, men and women must learn to work closely in order the gain trust needed to accomplish the job in an effective manner. At times this involved black humour that outsiders might find offensive, at other times playing practical jokes and very often, spending time together in social situations where families came to understand the broad support system that existed within the force1.

With a few exceptions, senior ranks were not immune to being the brunt of a practical joke and in this case it involved the 2 I/C of our Department, Inspector Charlie Bates (pictured above).2 Charlie was one of the most knowledgeable, honest and straightforward men of senior rank I had the pleasure to work with over my early career.  He certainly provided much needed balance to the dictatorial, ex-Regimental Sergeant Major who was then our Chief Constable.  Inspector Bates, however, subscribed to the old school motto: “rank hath is privileges”.

As he worked straight days (Monday to Friday) he often chose to lunch at his home near the Chinese Cemetery, at the very south-west corner of the Municipality, a distance of about three kilometers from the office. Just before lunch each day he would ask dispatch to have a car pick him up at the office, then, a little before 1:00 pm, he would phone and ask that a car be sent to pick him up.

I happened to pick up the phone one day when the Inspector asked for a pick-up and, for some reason, I was a little miffed that he constantly made these requests without much consideration as to what we might be doing at that particular time. Instead of dispatching a car, I picked up the phone, called Victoria Cabs and asked them to dispatch a car to his residence. Twenty minutes later the Inspector arrived at the office, paid the fare and entered the station.  He never said a word about the dispatch, but one knew, just knew, the good Inspector would bide his time.

It was not many shifts later that items of lingerie started appearing in my personal car. No matter if my car was locked, I would find a bra under the seat, panties in the glove compartment and many other tidbits of exotica.  It would not have been good to leave those items in the car as my wife also used it regularly and it might not seem plausible to tell her it was just the Inspector playing a practical joke. As suddenly as the exotic drops began, they stopped. It was clear the good Inspector had made his point and had had a good chuckle.  One could never be too careful.

(1) The downside of this closeness will eventually be explored in a story about the “Thin Blue Line”.

(2) Inspector Bates son, Charlie Jr., later joined the Victoria PD


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  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.

  • Harold McNeill

    January 13, 2019 |

    Well, my dear, it’s that time again. How the years fly by and the little ones grow but try as you may you will have a hard time catching up to your Daddy. Lots of love young lady and may your day be special
    Love, Dad

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Guess what? My response went to the Spam folder. Hmm, do you suppose the system is trying to tell me something?

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Thanks, Terrance. Your comment came through but went to the Spam folder. Have pulled it out and approved. Can you send another on this post to see if you name is now removed from Spam? I’m not sure why it does that. Cheers, Harold

  • Terrance

    January 5, 2019 |


  • Harold McNeill

    December 23, 2018 |

    Thanks Sis. I will be uploading as Hi-Def so the photos can be viewed full screen. Brother