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The RCMP Dysfunctional Alcoholic Family

Oct 06

Recruiting by the RCMP is also a form of conforming or indoctrination. Leaders must conform to the higher ranking members’ agenda or risk being sidelined. To break with so called tradition could be a career ending move. The career ending move could take shape in harassment, punitive transfers, or just being ignored. The forms of abuse are only limited by your imagination.

When recruits enter the RCMP Training Academy in Regina SK. an indoctrination process is started.

It is the following:

1. Leave home, family, and friends.
2. Eat different food.
3. Dorm living. Loss of privacy.
4. Lack of sleep.
5. Learn a new language.
6. Wear a uniform.
7. Rigid control of time.

The above process has always been used to shape the minds of people. It was used in Indian Residential Schools, The Armed Forces, and even the Moonies Religious Group.

Once at the Training Academy the culture of drinking is introduced. There are five drinking establishments at Depot. The “Stand Easy Lounge” for cadets only, the Corporal’s Mess, the Segreant’s Mess, the Officer’s Mess and alcohol is served at the Drill Hall on base whenever there is a function. The alcohol can be purchased at subsidized prices as well.

When I first arrived at Depot facilitators/instructors were expected to sign a form taking full responsibility for the troops at their half way party. Remember, that the cadets could frequent the Stand Easy Lounge every night unsupervised. The night of the half way party was expected to be a night of binge drinking.

Once graduated the RCMP member has easy access to RCMP drinking sites especially the Mess in each Division or Detachment.

Joseph F. Dietrich Ph.D., C.A.C. started the Members Assistance Program in the RCMP.  He is one of the foremost authorities in the world on Police and Alcohol.

He conducted a survey of RCMP members in 1989. The Clarke Institute in Toronto was used as the mailing point. 3500 questionnaires were sent out to the members across Canada. 3043 members answered the questions.

The results were:

11% of members were having 7 or more drinks a day.
17% of members were having 5 or more drinks a day.
35% of members were having 3 or more drinks a day.
26% of members needed psychological intervention.

The above information was not released to the public for a significant period of time and only after being watered down. Dr. Dietrich further stated that to curb the drinking the RCMP should raise the prices in the mess to that of public drinking facilities and let the members know the stats of the survey. Most members would have had an alcoholic supervisor in the first five years of their service. Just ask them.

Think of a detachment and the roles that were played out: (alcoholic family as well?)
The Alcoholic Dependent Person – perfectionist, aggressive, charming, blaming, etc.
The Chief Enabler – sickly powerless, compliant, manipulative, etc.
The Family Hero – successful, independent, seeking approval, perceptive, etc.
The Scapegoat – sullen, defiant, acting out, blaming, etc.
The Lost Child – creative loners, solitary, withdrawn, etc.
The Mascot – hyperactive, humour, centre of attention, etc.

Each member could take on any of the above roles. They are interchangeable at any given time.

Those of you who are now, or are past RCMP members, I would like to you consider a yes or no answer to the following questions:

RCMP members compulsively protect their inner feelings?
Only certain feelings are ok to be openly expressed by the member?
Performance is more important than the member?
There are many taboo subjects and lots of secrets?
Everyone must conform to the highest ranking member’s ideas and values?
There is a great deal of control and shaming?
There are a lot of “shoulds” from the higher to the lower ranks?
The rules are unclear, inconsistent, and rigid?
The atmosphere is frequently tense?
There is a great deal of anger and fear?
People feel tired hurt and disappointed?
A number of RCMP Members have low self-worth?
Coalitions form across generations (keeps repeating the process)?

The above list is the traits of a dysfunctional family.
( Source: Double Duty by Claudia Black)

These traits exist in all military and police organizations including the RCMP. What happens to people who criticize the family? The family closes ranks and ostracizes the family member. The same process takes place in the RCMP organization. The RCMP is the name of a police organization. “People” I repeat, “People” have to change before the organization will change. We cannot change what we do not acknowledge and this includes the RCMP.

Calvin Lawrence
28 Years RCMP
8 Years Halifax City Police

  1. Anonymous permalink

    Excellent piece. Unfortunately very true.

  2. Java permalink

    I agree 100% with this as well, good post! And what about the affects of the job itself? Alcohol is used to cope with the tragic events we see because we know that we can’t show weakness…after all we are machines, not human, right? Did anyone mention that some detachments still have beer fridges in the locker room so members can go sit and have a beer to shake the stress of the day from their mind. Furthermore, our employer does not educate it’s employees on the occupational hazard of PTSD. No one knows what symptoms/signs to look for so how can we tell if we suffer from it and need to ask for help? Besides, If a member did ask for help for PTSD/addiction (or both) how would this affect their career? Maybe this is due to the lack of trust for our employer? I think so. There is a huge breakdown in open communication between members on the front lines and management. Secrets, lies, deceit, control, abuse, bias, etc come between the two. A line is drawn in the sand and it will take much more than water to wash that line away.

  3. David C permalink

    Staff: “Come on in David and shut the door behind you. Have a seat. We brought you in here because the three of us would like to know if you know anyone important in the RCMP or in government.” Then it all begins…

  4. Aught Buck permalink

    I certainly had an alcoholic supervisor in my first five years. As I recall there were several in the section.

  5. Anonymous permalink

    I am in a relationship with an RCMP retired now. I think he is an alcoholic as he drinks daily , he was part of the ERT team and loved being a bad boy. I have zero tolerance for alcohol

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