Jim McFadden was born on May 16, 1950 and he attended Ancaster High School. He continued his education at Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology. He then worked as a photography and dark room technician with the Grey County Board of Education and also took a course in driving heavy trucks.
He developed an interest in police work and became a constable with Metropolitan Toronto. After fifteen months with the city, he decided to try for a position with the OPP and was accepted on June 30, 1975.
He began his first posting with the Parry Sound detachment. He spent twelve good years in the Parry Sound area and was able to secure a posting to Chatham where family and friends were located. Here Jim became a traffic officer on Highway 401, the busiest traffic artery in Canada.
Jim's mechanical inclination stood him in good stead when he worked as a breathalyzer coordinator at the Centre for Forensic Sciences in Toronto in 1991. The following year he worked on Project Front Door, a joint forces initiative in Windsor-Essex, which resulted in a commendation from the city's police chief.
On December 31, 1999 Constable McFadden was working the day shift on traffic patrol east of Chatham. The veteran officer was careful in his work, as he knew twenty-eight people had been killed in traffic accidents on the busy highway between London and Chatham in the past year. He saw a car with Michigan licence plates speeding east and pulled the violator over.
At 4:20 p.m. the OPP vehicle with its warning lights activated, was parked behind the American while Constable McFadden wrote the ticket. The roadway was dry and clear and was also equipped with rumble strips to warn motorists if they were straying from the paved portion of the road. At that point a thirty-four-year-old resident of Essex came up behind the two stopped vehicles and rammed the cruiser from behind. The impact shot the police car into the vehicle ahead. One occupant of that car was injured. The OPP officer was dead at the scene and the driver who was the cause of the accident was slightly injured.
James McFadden was survived by his wife and two children.