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A Voice for the Voiceless: A Forum for the Invisible

Nov 09

Some people may wonder what my rationale is for posting here. My name is unknown in this arena, especially compared to the esteemed gentlemen who have been responsible heretofore for the articles that populate this site. So, allow me to explain why my voice matters and who I speak for here.

Many years ago, I had one of the people who ended my career aspirations compliment me on my writing skills. His comments showed prescience in a way. Now, in the same way as he used his skills to end my career, I am using my skills to try to help end the careers of people like him. Turnabout, as I see it, is fair play. A long time has passed since I was at Depot, those who played a hand in ending my career have likely forgotten my existence. Me, I get reminded annually. Yeh, it was that bad. But, I digress.

I’ve shared as much of my story elsewhere as I really care to. I’d rather forget the past and focus on doing something more useful with the energy that it saps from me. That won’t happen any time soon. And that’s why I am here.

I want to use my gift, as much as I can, to serve up what needs to come to those who prey on their brothers and sisters in uniform. Mes amis, ma devise, pur et simple: la vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid.

There is no doubt that Calvin has lived through some difficult times in uniform. And in Mike’s realm, he’s likely heard stories that would make the most stoic of us weep. But these stories come from the world of the member. As I alluded to in my previous post, cadets are an uncounted commodity when compared to the horror stories of harassment and abuse, sexual or otherwise.

There are a few, lucky or unlucky, who have been able to break the media barrier. The rest of us merely disappear. Literally. The org disposes of us and abandons us. For those of you who may fall into this category, tell me if any of these sound familiar to you.

– it was seemingly determined by a member or members of your troop (or a facilitator) that you did not ‘fit in’ to the RCMP family.
– you became alienated or ostracized from part or all of your troop.
– you found yourself in a conflict of personality with a powerful troopmate or your facilitator.
– you rebuffed the advances of a powerful troopmate or a facilitator.

At some point, you were likely accused of some form of impropriety or offense (non criminal in nature) and you were served with a termination of contract letter. You may or may not have suffered through extensive amounts of harassment up until this point. Chances are you did. The Force likely painted you as one or more of the following:

– substandard
– untrustworthy
– physically deficient
– mentally or emotionally troubled

Now tell me if this sounds familiar, post-Depot:

– you feel lost and alone. Your career has ended before it began and you cannot understand why.
– you feel abandoned by the process
– you feel misunderstood, isolated, alone.
– you feel anger, guilt, frustration, sadness. You have likely been diagnosed with depression, clinical or otherwise.
– you develop intimacy issues with new managers and co-workers.
– you become overly-defensive at and are sensitive to criticism, constructive or otherwise.
– you may have a history of unemployment or have gone through a number of jobs since your tenure at Depot.
– you likely withdraw from loved ones; you feel or consider yourself unlovable or worthless.
– you have developed physical ailments of one variety or another.
– you have used any variety of substances or behaviours to self-medicate.

Welcome to the club. No, you are not alone. You now have found someone else who suffered harassment/ was mobbed at Depot. You likely wondered at some time or another if you were alone. That maybe you were the problem. You heard stories about members who were harassed, and while your problems happened in uniform, you somehow felt that your situation was not the same as theirs. There’s plenty of us; we just have no real way to find each other. Until now.

There are factors that separate members’ incidents from ours, but they are no less tragic. They are perhaps more so since yours cannot be resolved. No complaint process. No DSRR. The recourse is costly since it is your dime paying for the lawyer or lawyers who have to do battle with the litany of legal sharks at the Force’s disposal (I know of only one who sued and won for wrongful termination of contract. It took him years to get resolution. He got a significant payout AND a gag clause). You have never heard of a wronged cadet class-action suit. (And, for the record, I am not saying that you may not be able to be included in one. I encourage you to consult one of the firms handling the suits on behalf of members to see if you qualify. And, please, do NOT waste any more time in doing it.)

Whereas the maligned members got to live the job, you’ll likely never get to be a cop. Ever. And that weighs very heavy on your heart. No matter how you see the organization, there will likely always be that part of you that burns for a moment to make a difference in uniform. To want to change places with a member who has broken the rule of law – to prove you could do a better job.

I know your world well. You’re not alone. And, as you come to see here, this is a place where your voice can be heard. And your story can be shared and accepted – without judgment (at least from those who count). It’s all a case of mind over matter for those whom you encounter now that will mock or decry your experience: you shouldn’t mind them because their opinion doesn’t matter.

Think of the folk here like a big brother/sister troop. They are more experienced in some of the world. Maybe they are further along in their harassment ‘training and indoctrination,’ but they are here to support you. And they are understanding of your situation.

I encourage you to share freely of your stories. It is helpful for the healing process (trust me on that one). I also encourage you to be supportive of this site’s mission to see change come to our beloved organization. Whether you made it through Depot or not, I doubt any of you would want someone else to go through what you did. Here’s your chance to do something about that. Be silent and invisible no more. We may never get to “maintiens le droit,” but here’s a chance to do something good and noble. We have a chance to help restore the honour and integrity of our once-proud Force.

I’ve been where you are. I’m asking you to step forward and come join us.

Jamieson Hanlon


From → Depot

  1. Well said, and so true brother

  2. John Smith permalink


    I fully support your thoughts with respect to Depot. The demeaning insults thrown at you to the pleasure of others is certainly not enjoyable at all. I do not know you or begin to even be allowed to place comments on how you were treated.
    I was a longtime member who was also victimized from the onset about my language coming from the eastern part of Canada but ultimately making the west my home, simply because that was the way to do business back then send unilingual recruits west go figure….
    I will go to the defense of the force for a split second by saying that at the time a young bilingual member such as myself needed some “toughening up” and the verbal abuse taken in depot at the time assisted me in dealing with the abuse the general public dished out on the police throughout my career.
    That said, a simple class explaining this would have sufficed I am sure but those were the (para-military ways of that era.)
    Note that I am basically contradicting myself.
    We should conduct a study on how many people have gone through what you have gone through followed up by how many active members are still going throught the same thing.
    I am sure that we all have stories of some sort of power/verbal or other abuse to speak of. So unfortunate to be speaking out now only because we have a post we can do that with.
    This is a very valuable tool. Thanks to Dr. Mike, such a leader and a caring individual. Joking aside it is a man like Dr. Webster who has the expertise knowledge and skills to lead that should be considered for a leader of the RCMP.
    He has managed to institute change by allowing people like you and I to voice some of the many concerns on this site.
    But the reality is that we need to do more to expose the many challenges this force is facing.
    My vote is for Mike Webster to lead this exposure and de-throne Mr. Paulson who as most who know him is not only way overated but the magical million dollar question is how the heck did he make it to where he is???
    Anyway my friend keep your chin up you are one in many who has been through hell and back so my heart goes to you.

    John Smith.

  3. Jamieson Hanlon permalink

    many thanks for your comments. I understand your point WRT verbal abuse. I went through that in the military and I understand the methodology. That said, what I experienced at Depot was nothing like that. I could have handled yelling. Backstabbing, mindgames and rumours/ innuendo were what I faced. None of those have any contextual frame of toughening me up.
    As for the what the Force lost in me:
    – fluently bilingual
    – two bachelor degrees
    – solid background in martial arts/ defensive principles (20 years in karate, coupled with 4 years experience as a doorman)
    – Solid communication skills.
    – above average IQ
    I was far from being supercop, but I had what it took to make it, and I bore no illusions as to what waited for me once I got into the field. However, despite what I could have imagined, I never thought the shit would happen at Depot. Or to me. It was far from a ‘reality check,’ it was a living nightmare.

    What a handful of my troopmates and my facilitator decided to do to me was not pleasant. I likely had it worse than others and not as bad as some. I won’t ever compare my situation to anyone else’s, does no good, really. What I can say is that everyone who has been in that situation shares a sad kinship. It is a bond we must embrace together to get through. Support needs to be genuine, direct and unequivocal. And the way I see it, part or that ongoing self-therapy is to help others in the same situation as we are/ were out of the breach. That, and stand together to push for change in the organization to make sure that what happened to us will not happen to anyone else.
    On dira ensemble «jamais plus.»
    Thanks for the message and the support.

  4. Anonymous permalink

    I agree with John Smith that it makes proper and good sense to have people like Dr. Webster, who have the skills, education, deep understanding of organizational psychology, etc., experience, and is a person who CARES for ALL sides, to be in leadership posts within the RCMP. This would greatly reduce the chance for wrong decisions with its associated risks and consequences, that ultimately cost everyone. When one cares, one is more inclined and open toward truth(s).

    Also, to have people like Dr. Webster in the RCMP leadership posts will ultimately boost member morale, by stimulating proper conduct of members, which will improve service performance of officers, increase better employee relations, lower the incidences of mental and physical ailments of both members and the public it serves, and will save so much money, too! This will also help to improve the public’s opinion of the Force. It could only have a positive, winning outcome, if it were to come to fruition.

    I agree with Jamieson, too, that support should be “genuine, direct, and unequivocal” – it should be fundamental and readily existing. The fact that the proper support does not already exist, and the fact that there are such harmful behaviours expressed at times, seems to indicate a lack of care and respect for our fellow man, and is also evidence of a lack of maturity by any who engage in this type of conduct. The thinking that precipitates harmful behaviour is essential to willingly acknowledge, examine, and then to rightly choose a better behaviour which would stem from an improved thought-pattern. A psychologist could steer us in the right direction as to how to achieve improved thought- and behavioural-patterns, whenever necessary.

    I also agree with Jamieson that this website is very helpful (therapeutic) to anyone affected by such experiences. We should all be thankful for its existence. I know it’s making a positive difference for me, personally.

    I’ve heard from others who’ve mentioned that it would be a good idea also to have the members – all members – assessed by psychologists and/or psychiatrists periodically, on an on-going basis throughout their careers, as a means to improve and maintain the health of RCMP members and the public they serve. We understand that police have unique stresses and we are sensitive to their needs. On-going assessments can serve to stop a problem before it becomes a big, or bigger problem.

    The key issue is to either have or develop a caring attitude, empathy, and it seems this needs to be fostered and nurtured within the RCMP. People are important and their experiences matter. This often determines many outcomes. The RCMP will hopefully remember that they are also role-models to society, in addition to their many responsibilities. RCMP attitudes and conduct has both a direct and indirect effect on us all. Dr. Webster has demonstrated that he cares about the RCMP – and all others – by identifying truths that need to be shared in order that best practices can be done. Now, may all of us begin to care, too.
    Concerned Anonymous


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