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Remembrance Day: Urban Legends?

Nov 11

Years ago, while I was working at Depot one summer, I listened to what I believed to be a Depot-ized urban legend. The story recounted the tale of three women from a graduating troop. It went something like this.

One of the women was advised that she had not been successful in her training and would not graduate; she became despondent with this news. Concerned for her safety and cognizant of her state of mind, her facilitators tasked two of her troopmates and friends to monitor her – a sort of suicide watch.

One evening the women chose to go off base with their friend. In the course of the night they began to consume alcohol. It was a drowning of sorrows, the story went. All three were, it was said, in a state of intoxication when they decided to return to Depot in their private vehicle.

They arrived back at Depot and were in the course of parking their vehicle in the parking lot east of the Drill Hall when they struck a parked vehicle. Measures were taken to cover up the event, given that the driver was intoxicated. However, through a series of events, Depot staff were alerted to the incident and questioned all three females as to the event.

The women maintained innocence of the accusations that were levelled on them. Eventually, one of them came clean as to what had happened, hopefully believing that she would receive favour for her honesty. The story terminated in all three being released from training – the one, as anticipated. The other two were discharged for lying, and one for failing to report an accident. That coupled with the fact that investigators were told that all women were drunk led them to believe that this was a significant lapse in judgment that displayed conduct unbecoming a member or aspiring member.

Nice story, and I hope it would be true. But, can’t say I have ever found anyone who could corroborate it.

Now let me tell you the story of a young man whose story is of urban legend status. John TRUDGIAN was enrolled as a cadet back in 1996. While playing a game of broomball on base, TRUDGIAN ran into a fellow cadet, a female, who was also involved in the game. The female originally complained to one of her facilitators a couple of days after the event.

Around this time, a member from the Regina Police Service was called to attend Depot. He questioned the female and one of her facilitators. He was told that there were several witnesses who would back up the female complainant’s assertion that TRUDGIAN had sexually assaulted her. After speaking to these women for roughly two hours, the RPS member believed he had reasonable and probable grounds to charge TRUDGIAN with sexual assault.

A few days later, during the course of the training day, TRUDGIAN was charged and arrested. Given that, as a cadet, he was charged with a criminal offense, his contract was terminated almost immediately. At no time prior to his arrest was TRUDGIAN ever queried or interviewed regarding the incident. None of his troopmates or facilitators intervened on his behalf or advised him of what was going on. Presumably, nothing that TRUDGIAN had done prior to this in training would have indicated aberant behaviour on his part.

TRUDGIAN went to court and was acquitted of the charges. Despite being found not guilty, his career was over. The Force would not look at him again as he had been tainted in their eyes by the incident. TRUDGIAN returned to his previous job in corrections, but found that the event followed him, again despite being acquitted of the charges.

He was successful in suing the Force, and sued RPS for wrongful arrest and imprisonment. However, the pittance that he received was likely small comfort to the ignominy he faced at having been expelled from the Force.

I doubt, given the circumstances, that TRUDGIAN meant to grab the female in such a fashion. Further, I have to feel for him in some circumstances since, at no time prior to the arrest, was he asked for his version of events or allowed to bring forth witnesses who could corroborate and add context to the unpleasant incident that occurred and that led this female (who may be still serving in the Force) to believe that TRUDGIAN had intent to assault her in such a fashion.

Many things have run through my head in the last few years since issues around sexual impropriety have arisen in the Force – members masturbating in cruisers, surfing porn, having sex with subordinates in RCMP buildings – and I always wondered what made TRUDGIAN an unwanted in the Force. Is it that, in true RCMP fashion, doing nothing is better than doing the right thing? Is admitting a mistake so heinous an act for them that they are willing to lose people like him and keep the blemishes to the Serge on the public’s payroll?

I never met him, but I feel an odd kinship with him. His is one of the cases I first found when I first started trying to make sense of what happened to me. Funny thing is, you can’t make sense of this type of lunacy. I tried finding him years ago. Seems he has gone underground… or worse. I did reach his brother, but once I mentioned RCMP, the conversation came to an abrupt end. Wherever he is, I hope he has found some modicum of peace.

So, on this day that brings such wild and mixed emotions and thoughts to me, I’d like you to take a moment to think about your fellow members (and yes, cadets) who have suffered immensely at the hands of those on the same team. May the sacrifices and injuries you’ve suffered never be forgotten, either.

Jamieson Hanlon

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3 Comments
  1. It is very sad when I hear stories of RCMP members that have been wronged. There are far too many stories like this. I have heard so many that I am numb. What will it take to fix this? Maybe we as members need to say NO, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We have earned the right, it is time for the FORCE to maintain the right. After all, without the hard work of our members where would we be?

    Management. YOU WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. Make no mistake about it. YOU are responsible for your people. Take ownership and fix this travesty. If the RCMP falls, you have no one to blame but yourselves. Is this the legacy that you wish to leave behind? LEAD BY EXAMPLE, do not lead by POLICY ALONE.

    I love my Country and my RCMP. Please do not allow bad management to destroy this.

    Sincerely,
    Rolly Beaulieu

  2. Jamieson Hanlon permalink

    Amen, Rolly. On est tous dans le même bateau, et si on ne reste pas vigilant, ça va couler.

  3. John Smith permalink

    Mon ami Jamieson et Rolly,

    Le bateau a deja couler. The boat is no longer afloat my good friends. These stories are countless. I would dare to assume that any organization of this size or bigger has experienced the same. I have stories of my own that I do not dare put on paper as I still have friends in the force who would probably suffer some sort of consequence as they were present as witnesses. Stories that involve the present Commish. Yes, good old Mr. Paulson who everyone seems to think will change the force is only a political puppet to the string pullers. The force tried to employ a civilian and failed. What the force needs to do is look after the inside. Not try to fix what the public thinks. Do they think the public is stupid?

    I will tell all once my court case is completed. Feel very sad and sorry for all the members out there who have a gag order out of fear. What a place to work in. Whistle blowers are all damaged goods as the RCMP find ways to mark them and destroy them.

    We need leaders that can lead. We need leaders that care about what was once the best police force in the world. (arguably).

    Jamieson Rolly keep these comming someone out there is going to hear.

    John Smith ( a respected brother and friend)

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