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The RCMP: A Corporate Culture Out of Step

Oct 25

In this article I would like to examine the culture of a large government beauracracy, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).  For the purposes of this piece I will define corporate culture as simply, “the way we do things around here”.

The RCMP, to my knowledge, is the only major Canadian police service without a union/association.  (An in-house Division Staff Relations Representative Program was imposed upon the members in 1974 by the Commissioner of the day).  In 2007 a group of RCMP members, largely from Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia challenged the legality of a union ban dating back to 1919.  In that application to the Ontario Superior Court, the members’ counsel outlined a workplace characterized by dysfunction, high levels of stress, harassment, bullying, a culture of fear and an absence of independent representation (Canadian HR Reporter, 2007).  The RCMP’s continued resistance to the union initiative calls into question the organization’s genuine commitment to cultural change.  In 2006 the senior executive of the above noted in-house staff relations program dipped into the membership’s legal fund to pay a lobbyist (Summa Strategies) to dissuade federal members of parliament from supporting the creation of an RCMP members’ association.  This misuse of funds was mostly unknown, however among those members who were aware of what their staff relations representatives had done, it was considered a betrayal by those who claim to put “members first”.  Leading up to the constitutional challenge approximately two dozen serving and retired RCMP members filed affidavits in support of the motion.  The affidavits asserted a “disturbing tolerance for bad and sometimes borderline criminal behaviour within the force”.  (Gatehouse & Gillis, 2007).

In a recent Ipsos Reid poll (2013) only 33% of British Columbians thought that the RCMP leadership was doing a good job; only 39% thought the Force treated its own employees fairly; and only 45% thought the organization would be able to stop the harassment of female members.  There is, currently, a landslide of female members alleging harassment in the RCMP workplace including:  Catherine Galliford; Janet Merlo; Karen Katz; and nearly 300 individuals in a pending class action lawsuit.  Historically, the record reveals both male and female members alleging harassment, discrimination, physical abuse, sexual assault, bullying, and intimidation (see for example, Mariga, 2006; Gatehouse & Gillis, 2007; Humphrey, 2006).

Further insight into the dysfunctional culture of the RCMP is provided by scholarly organizational/management reviews (e.g. Brown Report, 2007; Duxbury Report, 2007) and employee surveys.  One such survey undertaken in the RCMP’s “C” Division in 2008 indicated “that the Quebec division…is a mess of bad management, poor employee communications, and rotten promotion procedures that reward cronyism and sycophants while keeping good officers down” (Marsden, 2009).  These failures are thought to be reflective of a corporate culture characterized by a rigid hierarchical structure replete with impermeable para-militaristic barriers between leaders and those led.  The report, based upon 688 interviews, went on to assert that it is not uncommon for RCMP managers/executives to ignore “mediocre performance, incompetence, and … reprehensible actions when it suits them” (Marsden, 2009).  Another more recent internal RCMP report (2012) based upon survey responses from 426 respondents found “that female members do not trust the force’s system to deal with harassment complaints and frequently avoid reporting instances of perceived wrongdoing” (Leblanc, 2012).

The examples provided above suggest that contrary to RCMP spin, the problems are systemic and not just the occasional example of “dark-hearted behaviour”.  It is well to remember that while there have been several high profile reports of harassment there are likely many that go unreported, as the common perception among RCMP members is that “the harasser will simply be moved to another unit or promoted” and the complainant will become a target (Leblanc, 2012).  Amidst much fanfare, and following the reporting of the above noted survey of female members, a senior executive of the Force’s British Columbia Division announced that “a number of initiatives” were “about to be rolled out” (Kellar, 2012).  In fact, the RCMP has had in-house harassment and anti-discrimination training in place since 2001.  Moreover, prior to the previously mentioned senior executive’s announcement of newly minted “respectful workplace advisors” and her boss’ announcement of one hundred specially trained harassment investigators, the Force already had an anti-harassment policy and harassment prevention coordinators (Mariga, 2006).  A reasonable person might tend to wonder whether these policies and programs were merely window dressing.  A background investigation undertaken for the Brown Report (2007) suggested that within the RCMP’s corporate culture there existed “an ethos that permitted the authoritarianism and intimidation by a few to override the principles of the many, and a culture of fear to prevent any effective challenge by subordinates of abusive behaviour by superiors”.  (Paquet, 2007).

As suggested above, following several high profile allegations of sexual harassment, a class action suit with nearly 300 cases, task force investigations, management studies and employee surveys it is somewhat uncontroversial that the RCMP has a workplace harassment problem.  In my opinion, the corporate culture can be held not only responsible for this state of affairs but also for the organization’s inability to “get out in front of the story”.  In the law enforcement universe the unspoken expectation is that police persons have to be tough to deal with the “bad guys”; so why would an off colour remark, a nasty word, or a pat on the “bum” be such a problem?  The answer lies within the fabric of traditional police culture.  The latter is woven out of several fundamental values including: solidarity; authoritarianism; conservatism; prejudice; cynicism; suspicion; and a well rooted blue collar ethic (Murphy & McKenna, 2007).  The combination of solidarity and authoritarianism act to dissuade police persons from coming forward to complain about abusive behaviour.  Recent support for this hypothesis can be found in the Brown Report (2007).  The chair of the taskforce criticized a former Commissioner of the RCMP for his autocratic leadership style and for his obvious punishment of whistleblowers (Clark, 2007).  More recently, a senior non-commissioned officer registered a thoughtful complaint with the present Commissioner by suggesting “Trust has become an essential element missing from the relationship between senior executive/management and the membership in the RCMP’s leadership crisis” (CBC News, 2012).  The Commissioner responded to this member in what many thought was a demeaning and authoritarian manner by saying, “You are living under a rock…Your words reveal an ill-informed arrogance… You are a Staff Sergeant in the Mounted Police writing the Commissioner… You have done yourself a disservice” (CBC News, 2012).  Many believe that these examples of Commissioners leading by intimidation, reflect the core values of an oppressive corporate culture that seems out of step with the times and impervious to change.

The example of (organizational) culture that I have presented is widely considered to be badly in need of change.  The organizational design of military and para-military (i.e. police) organizations is one of hierarchy.  I have long been a proponent of transformational change for the RCMP.  Even if my wish came true and the organization was to become a separate status employer, de-militarized, down-sized, tasks put in check with resources, and focused only on federal statutes the hierarchical design would remain.  Providing more training for those in leadership positions is not likely to improve their leadership capabilities (it hasn’t yet!).  Tinkering with policies and training more “harassment coordinators” or “respectful workplace advisors” is not likely to meet with success (it hasn’t yet!).  Moreover, it appears that due to hiring shortages junior members will be promoted into positions of leadership without adequate experience.

If the RCMP is serious about getting a handle on workplace bullying they must address their dysfunctional corporate culture.  The keystones of the culture, solidarity and authoritarianism, must be remediated.  In my opinion, this moves the contentious issue of a union out of the shadows and into the spot light.  If the RCMP wishes to function in the 21st Century they must provide a mechanism to address the inequities in the hierarchical design.  An independent Mounted Police Professional Association would be an autonomous entity that would move its members “along the continuum of power ensuring a voice for those of less power in the lower ranks of the hierarchy” (Clark, 2007).  This would finally reign in an RCMP executive/management that has been tripping over its corporate culture and worshipping anachronistic “sacred cows” for decades.

Dr. Mike Webster, R.Psych.

References

Canadian HR Reporter. (2007).  Mounties want to get their union.  Vol 20 (3).

Gatehouse, J. & Gillis, C. (2007).  What’s really killing the Mounties.  MacLean’s Vol. 120 (46).

Mariga, V. (2006).  RCMP officer launches lawsuit citing harassment.  OH&S Canada, Vol. 22 (8), p. 23.

Humphrey, B. (2006).  Employee Awarded $1Million Damages:  Mental Health Ruined by Supervisor’s Treatment.  Stinger Brisbin Humphrey, February 20.

Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP (RCMP Task Force, 2007).  Government of Canada, December 2007.

Duxbury, L. (2007).  The RCMP Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow:  An Independent Report Concerning Workplace Issues At The Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  Government of Canada, November 2007.

Marsden, W. (2009).  Quebec RCMP a managerial mess:  internal poll.  Ottawa Citizen, Jan. 8, 2009, P.A.5.

Leblanc, D. (2012).  Female Mounties fear backlash over reporting harassment, report shows.  Globe and Mail, Sept. 17.

Kellar, J. (2012).  Workplace advisors and online tool to help RCMP members report harassment.  The Canadian Press, September 24.

Paquet, G. (2007).  Background paper prepared for the Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP.  November.  http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/rcmp-grc/fl/eng/backgroundpaper

Murphy, C. & McKenna, P. (2007).  Re-thinking Police Governance, Culture, & Management:  A Summary Review of the Literature.  Public Safety Canada.

Clark, C. (2007).  Closed-door task force announced for RCMP as calls for inquiry persist.  The Globe and Mail, June 19, P.A. 8.

CBC News (2012).  RCMP emails reveal tensions as force faces changes.  cbc.ca/news/Canada/story/2012/08/09

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30 Comments
  1. Calvin Lawrence permalink

    I would say to the RCMP members;

    “Silence is consent. Suffering is optional”.

  2. Paul Melanson permalink

    Great article Dr. I’m not sure a Union would solve many problem as it would face the same problems as the DSRR Program. I believe that in order to Move Forward either with an Union or DSRR we need to deal with Treasury Board and cut out the Middle MEN ( RCMP upper management). We are Federal Government Employee’s who employment is with the BRANCH RCMP. I’ve never seen any other organisation of Employees who do not, Cannot speak with their EMPLOYER Treasury Board. Once this hurdle is fixed the cronyism and sycophants should cease.

  3. Anonymous permalink

    I have to agree fully with Dr. Webster. What is needed is an Association. One that is voted in by all members and an Executive that is also elected. An Association that works within the guidelines of a Binding Agreement. That way, both parties, the Members and Management know what is acceptable and what is not. It must be binding. Of course the association would be considered to be an essential service and they would not be able to strike. The rest could be worked out as it is with every other Police Association in Canada.

    We don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just copy the best practices that do work.

    My Two cents

    Rolly Beaulieu
    MPPAC – Executive Secretary.

  4. Anonymous permalink

    When did law enforcement become corporate??? I think I have found a clue to the organizational ills.

    Cpl. Stewart Robertson
    Chair
    “E” Division LMD Member’s Support Group

  5. fokk jullenaaiers permalink

    What’s really needed here isn’t another union. Unions protect incompetence. I’d go a few steps further from Dr. Webster’s big wishes and disband the force in favor of provincial and municipal forces. The practice of taking young recruits out of their communities, giving them fewer hours of training than a barber or a welder in what’s essentially a summer camp for authoritarian bullies, and then plunking them down somewhere that they may not be too familiar with is just asking for trouble. The time of nationalized policing has seen its day. Watching the RCMP militarize and gorge itself on tax dollars is really a disgusting way to see hard earned tax dollars spent by the government.

  6. Anonymous permalink

    I am not a white shirt nor a friend of Chief Workman Stark. I do find it interesting on one hand, we as female members speak of how all female members are sexually harassed etc throghout their careers and are forced to work within the boys club. If we are adamnet that these are the working conditions for all women, why would Workman Stark be an exception to these conditons.

    I disagree with your comments that one has to be harassed etc to understand and effect the proper response. I thought education, work experience etc was the usual criteria for getting a job. After all a pyschologist or pyschiatrist can effectly treat us after our traumatic experiences.

    Lastly we as all members have been judged without basis. Unless Workman Stark personally told you she is seeking to be the next commissioner are you not judging without basis, while laying the ground work to have malicious gossip spread about someone who simply voiced an opinion to the media. Were you ever a victim of malicious gossip? Did you wonder how and why it started? It starts with people personally knowing little if anything about the situation.

    I recognize the force has failed so many of its members and until change is implemented from boots up the culture remains.

    • Anonymous permalink

      Change has to be implemented from “boots up”…Really?!? So you’re saying that it’s up to the Constables to teach the Senior Managers how to effectively manage. So leadership and accountability starts at the bottom? No wonder the RCMP languishes in the peril it is currently in. Give your head a shake.

    • Anonymous permalink

      Dear Anonymous

      My apologies for not clarifying what I meant by “boots up”. I simply meant the entire membership has to be on the same page from recruits all the way up to the commissioner. Surely your not suggesting only people in white shirts are capable of bullying, harassing etc. I know many members who have been harassed by their coworkers (cst’s) or their direct NCO (Cpl) along with watch commanders who were either the rank of Sgt or Staff. Also if I dare ask did you ever go along with stuff to get along? Did you ever laugh when an offside joke was said? Were you the perfect little member that did everything in accordance to policy? If you were I sincerely apologize. I for one can say I laughed at jokes I shouldn’t of. Made inappropriate comments. I take ownership of my behaviour and I choose not to participate in anything inappropriate as I see the harm that comes with it. Maybe one day I will be as perfect as you.

    • Anonymous permalink

      Sounds like I hit a nerve with you…
      Thank you for the apology and the clarification. I’m sure you now see in hindsight that it was a silly thing for you to say.

    • Anonymous permalink

      She didn’t say anything wrong at all and she doesn’t owe anyone an apology. The bunch of you have misrepresented what she said and flown off the handle.

      I have a regular problem with people on this site doing that, we all have the same problem, the same objective and the same antagonist, so why attack each other? Everyone needs to chill out and keep their eye on the true target instead of turning on each other. We won’t slay the beast if we’re fighting amongst ourselves.

      On her comments, she is right, the culture of the organization needs to change from one end to the other. In my assessment, the catalyst for change is already coming from the bottom. Cal Lawrence, I think was a Sgt., Galliford a Cpl, Merlot a Cst….

      To go further than that, our only hope may be the new breed coming in the bottom as recruits.

      The Forces most profound problem people? Commissioner Zaccardelli, D.Comm. Barbara George etc.

      • Calvin Lawrence permalink

        The change has to come from the top because they have the ability to make change. Recruits go to Depot, to learn how to conform. I fought for myself and helped others. I had the will but not the power. The people at the top have the power but not the will.

    • Anonymous permalink

      Sorry Cal, love ya but gotta agree and disagree.

      You’ve caused more positive change in the RCMP than any Commissioner that I know. If anyone can name a Commissioner that has done more for minorities, name him.

      There was a time not so long go that a minority would NEVER have gotten a settlement from the Force and you got two.

      Recruits ARE sent to Depot to conform. In spite of that, I came out of Depot and stood up against sexual harassment only six months later.

      “I fought for myself and helped others”. Bingo. In fighting for yourself you helped and inspired others, that’s leadership, true leadership…and you did it from the bottom.

      “I had the will but not the power” You didn’t have as much power as them but you still affected change with the power that you had. (Which I would suggest you are underrating here).

      “The people at the top have the power but not the will” The people at the top are vacuous sycophants without the will to lead because they only know ingratiation.

      If every NCM did what you did, what I did, what Galliford and Merlo are doing; the sycophants in command would have no option but to mimic us.

    • Anonymous permalink

      I suspect it was just an honest mistake in expression referring to change taking place with a ‘boots up’ approach. It will have to be a ‘top-down’ approach “unfortunately” starting with senior mgmt. but like any organisation, for change to take place, senior mgmt. buy-in is key. I say “unfortunately” because that will never change with RCMP brass-asses. Take it easy people, don’t be too quick to judge and attack each other on this tag. I hear all the frustration out of a few people here, and that needs to be directed at the white shirts – not each other on this site. The things the force does to people are “awful” and I suspect many of you have lived with this so long it has become part of your character, that this ‘stress’ appears normal when in fact is abnormal and impairs your quality of life and piece of mind. I tell you there is ‘life’ beyond the force and much better quality of it. Take it easy guys.

  7. Anonymous permalink

    Anonymous

    You didn’t hit a nerve. You simply proved my point that sometimes members can be quick to judge or make assumptions without fact. Instead of requesting clarification on what I meant by “boots up” you chose to tell me to give my head a shake……maybe your not perfect after all.

    • Stitch42 permalink

      While “give your head a shake” may have been a little flippant by anonymous, I cannot help but notice that you seem to bend over backwards to hold the general membership to a higher theshold than you are prepared to hold Snr. Mgmt. “Boots up” certainly leads me to also believe that you are blaming the front line members for the current problems of the force. There is a power imbalance when Snr. Mgmt. holds all the cards. They are the ones who hold the ranking priviledge and therefore have to lead by example, not demonstrate “do as I say, not as I do, mentality”. Sounds like you have definitely drank the corporate Kool-Aid.

    • Anonymous permalink

      Again an opinion I would disagree with you. If you would like to hear facts or my reasoning behind my comments please obtain my email address and we can have a frank discussion on this. This applies to anyone interested in knowing why I say what I do. I look forward to hearing from you.

  8. Bob Perry permalink

    Organizational culture can change but it is neither a simple nor fast process. It also requires everyone in the organization to assume responsibility and accountability in taking collective ownership to shift the culture in the desired direction. Trust is a key ingredient.

    Organizational cultural change is hampered in organizations that employ command and control processes and policies as they subvert interpersonal trust; where trust and interpersonal closeness are not essential prerequisites of effective managerial relationships. For example, in networked organizations relationships among employees rely more on cooperation than control and that cooperation requires and depends on trust (Stewart, 2001).

    Hierarchical organizations are unable to fully tap into the power of social capital its employees bring to the organization; engaged and committed employees who can effectively collaborate in creating and maintaining a networked environment requires leadership based on interpersonal trust.

    There area number of academic articles, books and research into organizational cultural change. One of the better I have come across (though an earlier edition) is:

    Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values Framework, 3rd Edition by Kim S. Cameron, Robert E. Quinn. March 2011.

    Sources:

    Stewart, T. (2001). Trust me on this: Organizational support for trust in a world without hierarchies. In W. Bennis, G. Spreitzer and T. Cummings (Eds.), The future of leadership: Today’s top leadership thinkers speak to tomorrow’s leaders. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  9. Calvin Lawrence permalink

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/rcmp-under-fire-for-lack-of-mental-health-help-for-officers-1.2416083

    What about RCMP members attacking themselves.
    ————————————————–
    CBC NEWS

    “RCMP under fire for lack of mental health help for officers”
    ” the RCMP said it does not track suicides among its ranks, nor does it track how many members are on long-term stress leave”.
    —————————————————–
    Could it be, that if a member of the RCMP kills him/her self that they are considered to be a bad person by management and culture of the organization? Could it be that making members sick and having them go on long term stress leave could be used as form of punishment? Could work like that.????

  10. mixer permalink

    I would ask participants to try to remain polite to each others. We are all entitled to our Opinion. We all agree that the RCMP, (which is composed of members like US writing on the blog) needs to make some serious changes in order to survive.
    In theory, we are all part of the SAME FAMILY, and we know that only the FAVORITE CHILD is really be taken care of. The PROBLEM CHILD, like ME is pushed aside and often hidden in a dark room banished from others thinking he is the only one.
    Thanks to the Good Dr we Problem Child’s have this blog to vent our feeling and reach out for support by helping other ISOLATED Members.

    You can read a book about PTSD or OSI but unless you have lived with the Demon you will not truly understand. This will not prevent you from being compassionate to our Cause. You see deep depression make’s it hard for us to see Positive stuff it also make it hard to trust other. But it does teach us to be compassionate to others with the same Demons.

    My two cents. Together we stand but we suffer alone.

  11. mixer permalink

    Yup, that is what I’m saying, your Part of the RCMP family but you are not being treated equally.

    You have been given the shitty end of the stick. Only You and myself and the rest of the shitty stick group know that some get to ride in a Limousine while the remainder ride in a Wheel Barrow.

    We do not feel like we are part of the Family, but the family does not understand why we are not happy. So they use the phrase ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY”

    Of course you understand my sarcasm’s because we are in the same group. Stay Strong.

    This old Mounty has been rode hard and put away wet many time’s now I’m just waiting for the pension while trying to get better. When I go to work I put on a smile it drive’s them Crazy.
    Art Of War my Friend ART OF WAR.

  12. Anonymous permalink

    I would have to agree with you on your comments about SRRs. It’s so odd, because at times I’ve enjoyed the company of a couple of SRRs in the past, having a drink with them in an ‘all ranks mess’, and then the larger bulk of times feel like I’ve been entirely grassed by their complete and utter disloyalty and betrayal. I just need to look at how 2 previous div reps in a former division handled 30-40 cases of severe harassment and mobbing where nothing was accomplished, made it impossible to solve with the mass-heap of paperwork to take ‘one step’, or how they had to confer with senior mgmt. before taking any kinds of action to help (which never happened) proving there’s no empowerment by SRRs to do anything, creating roadblocks for victimized members rather than really helping them, betraying the membership by voting for C-42, misusing MPMLF funds for activities that go against the benefit and well-being of members, and really just standing there like “shit-on-a-stick” and being nothing more than a mascot in a costume for a professional sports team shaking a fist in the air saying “rah-rah-rah” but …. that’s it. Just look at the stats of any SRR in the arena specifically around “harassment” and see how successful they are…..they’re not. I don’t have any confidence in SRRs especially if they collude with the brass, in attempts to do nothing more than protect the force, at the expense of victimized members. I guess it’s all pensionable time isn’t it? Just exchange time for money. Must be quite easy when all they do is spend all their time in Ottawa talking about their favourite flavoured coffee. I see the exact same thing.

  13. Anonymous permalink

    I would love to read both Janet’s and your book as well some time. Still haven’t read Ron Lewis’s “This is not the RCMP I joined”. It’s important to show the ‘garbage’ the RCMP stands for and make it public.

  14. Anonymous permalink

    Mixer, I would have to agree with Anonymous. We are anything ‘BUT’ part of the family, and speaking as another person that was eaten up and shat out the ass of the force. Mixer, how can you say “the family does not understand why we are not happy”? They most certainly do, and they don’t give a shit which is a more accurate answer. I do wish you well Mixer in your retirement…I truly do, but I don’t think senior mgmt. care whether we sport a smile or not, if it doesn’t add to their paycheque, or threaten the sanctity of their authority, because they too can sport a smile and impose their will at the same time….and they know it.

  15. Anonymous permalink

    Thanks for the kind words, you see I know we are not the problem child. I agree that Buffalo Bob and his Minions are the problem alone with Vic Toews and now Steve Blaney. Why we answer to the Minister of Public Safety still puzzles me.
    My reference to the family and problem child is to explain how the Bullies perceives us and the organisation

    The reason that we got ptsd or pted and harassed the hell out is because We, unlike them, CARE about giving a good days work, being accountable, and giving Joe Public the service they deserve.

  16. Anonymous permalink

    Cal, I respectfully disagree with the oversimplified statement that ‘silence is consent. Suffering is optional’. The alternative to ‘speaking up’ is not an option either as we’ve seen by many postings on various tags on this site which result in marginalization by your peers, and twisted on someone to be made out that they’re the problem, especially in cases involving harassment where I’ve found div reps to be useless. I’ve been told to document every time I was harassed, but found it to be no use unless there was something sure-fire ‘tangible’ to follow it up with (which can be impossible), especially with senior mgmt. that refuse to address it. I tried getting two div reps over a period of 6-7 years to address my circumstance, and they did nothing but carried the process on around in a circus carousel, which ended up making more trouble – so acting on wrongdoing didn’t pay off as it doesn’t for many members. Suffering seems to be both consent and optional when you work with an organisation that doesn’t help it’s members.

    • Calvin Lawrence permalink

      If individual members are harrassed or suffer discrimination; it is up to the individual to fight. Yes, go through the proper process available. If that does not work fight until you win or until you die! It’s your life. Get kicked everyday or make it clear” Let me go to become all I can be in this organization or pay the price for hanging on!!!!!!

      • Anonymous permalink

        Cal,
        Really? If due process (which is held internally within the organisation) doesn’t work, then fight until you win or die? I suspect 90% of harassment cases operate in the ‘fight til you die’ lane currently. I’d agree, that as long as you’re in the organisation you have to do something but ‘fighting to the death” (and yes, I know you mean that metaphorically and not literally) isn’t much of an option is it Cal. It’s more “you will be getting kicked continually while trying to make it clear’ you won’t accept harassment. I fought for years Cal! It didn’t do a thing, the div reps didn’t do anything, senior mgmt chose to pretend it didn’t exist, and my unit commander continued to sewer my career along with a few others who also fought and got nowhere for 7 years. Why? Because the internal controls within the organisation allow people in positions of power to continually get away with it – until you take it legally outside the force, but what kind of career are you left with if you do this? I think you make it sound easier than it is. I’m not saying don’t fight….i’m just saying there aren’t many options for the aggrieved that need to fight and depending on where they are in their career may need to make some other choice (ie. employment or other). I’d hate to think i’d have to fight for 30-35 years and nothing be done, and achieved very little during that time before retiring. 7 years was enough for me, and there was no reason why it should’ve taken this long to address.

      • Calvin Lawrence permalink

        I have had two successful settlements with the RCMP. I exposed individual Commissioned Officers and members regarding how I was wronged. I was wounded but kept fighting. Will we always win? No. We either stand up and be counted or lie down and be counted out.

      • Anonymous permalink

        You know another thing i’d like to see is the RCMP not allow to have ‘internal investigations’ against members without ‘outside legal or crown’ representation for the member. I’ve seen these fictitious investigations instigated against people for purposes of promotion that escalate into witch hunts and become brutally personal. There may be investigations against members that are legitimate, but I’ve seen ones that “ARE NOT” and become so personal (had this happen to me) where you get setup from all sides and angles and is unfounded. Members having internal investigations conducted against them need to be legally represented at the expense of the force and not out-of-pocket. My situation became quite ugly, because I ‘fought’ against it, as the grounds/criteria used were unsubstantiated and felt I didn’t have to cooperate with this ridiculousness. I was lucky to have representation, even though the end result had the investigators in the wrong, and me in the clear, the entire situation left me wondering what career options where left, disparagement from colleagues, and still had to consider options for other employment. While I hadn’t been diagnosed at the time, I believe I had ptsd and realizing some years later, had effects in the way I processed information, communicated back, general reactions (during that period), and eventually just checked out and couldn’t fight back anymore. Stress makes people do funny things. Had I not had good representation, the force would have played their cards to entertain the idea of discharging me. While this witch hunt was forced to be ‘dropped’, it should feel like a ‘win’ to me but it didn’t, they damaged my reputation, didn’t validate assumptions, or concurred the facts with me in reasonable fashion and everything was done behind my back. I eventually left and found employment elsewhere.

        There’s a dangerous thing about ‘facts’, and that is that the investigators at their leisure, can create a ‘perception of reality’, and somehow deceivingly twist this into facts (on paper), and then say “if you sue us, we’ll manipulate the information we have, which will either: cause embarrassment, or open up another can of worms”, making it more trouble than it’s worth to continue with a suit. I see this type of activity is well-practised in the force, and I’ve never been the same since. Another thing I’ve found, is once I left the force, it took 3 years for me to decompress (from these results), I found I started reconstructing memories of what happened and realized perhaps due to my ‘check out’, that I didn’t fully grasp the magnitude of what was happening. Don’t quite understand why I am reliving this now. This has never happened to me in any other occupation pre-and-post the RCMP and can’t quite make sense of it. Honestly, not sure if I could get any assistance now.

        Talk about the force ‘eating their own’. I just despise this organisation.

  17. janslakov permalink

    Interesting what Bob Perry said about how organizations with command and control processes tend to have a hard time improving organizational culture…. I understood Mike W. to be saying that police forces are, necessarily, hierarchical. Mike, you advocate an independent Mounted Police Professional Assoc. – that makes sense to me. But I’m sure more is needed too. You have suggested dedicating the RCMP to federal crimes and having separate municipal and provincial police forces. I would agree, and from what I have heard about community-based policing (advocated by former superintendent Chris Braiden, for example), that would be desirable.

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