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Before and After: My conception of the RCMP

Nov 25

I come from a place where the RCMP was not policing my community. The only time I would hear about the outfit would be through the media once they had done a large drug seizure or something similar. I knew very little about law enforcement but I had the strong belief that the RCMP was the best policing organization in the world.

Several years later, I enrolled and found myself in DEPOT. I lived and breathed the RCMP’s core values as they were my own. Already then, there were signs that things were not quite the way I thought they were. I noticed that some instructors were not treating us the « RCMP way ». Some cadets were physically pushed out of the way and were being told off while some others seemingly had a free pass to go unpunished even after what seemed like the most blatant violations of what the RCMP stood for. Nevertheless, I shook off that feeling in the corner of my mind, reminding myself that « such things happen » and that even the best program in the world could suffer some hiccups from time to time. After all, we’re all human. I had never been as proud as of the day of my graduation. My family had come a long way to see me, and all were astonished by the « new and improved man » I had become. I stood there during the ceremonial dinner, listening to the Chief Superintendent giving us a great speech about RCMP values and also about the struggles we would have to go through in our careers as Mounties.

About a week later, I found myself posted in one of the most criminalized towns in Canada. Being a new member, I gave it all. Very soon I found myself being compared to veterans for the quality of my work. I also came very close to work myself to the ground in the process. I soon found out that no matter how much energy and dedication I would put in, no matter what crazy amount of work I was managing to pull off, nothing would come back to me. I am not talking about money or promotion here, but merely simple recognition. It was taken for granted that my spouse and I had to give our entire lives to the RCMP without blinking. It did not matter that we were thousands of miles away from our family and friends because I had made the decision to enrol. My spouse and I were now seemingly owned by the organization.

Fast forwarding a few years later, I have now realized that the RCMP does not care about its members. The RCMP care about its image. It cares about an old tradition that makes little sense in the world we live in. It lives in the past and it is maneuvered by people that never knew or cannot remember what it is to work in the streets. The sadness of all this is that motivated Mounties are pushed a little further away each and every time policy is modified at the detriment of members or that the RCMP shows it will not stand beside them for the right reasons (if not at all). Some other members became absolutely disgusted with the organization and are now simply going through the motions. Do as you’re being told, do more, work with less and especially forget about your most fundamental rights as a Canadian citizen. You (not the brass, not the RCMP, but YOU) are now held by much higher standards as a regular member or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Don’t screw up, or they’ll push you as far as they can with their 20 foot pole, ensuring to segregate yourself from the organization, labelling you as « a rotten apple ».

Granted, I became quite bitter and disillusioned towards the Force as I know it does not represent its members and that it will not stand for them. Nevertheless, I am a fervent believer in my job. I proudly wear the uniform not for what it is now but for what it can represent. No matter the weather I will be standing alongside my fellow sisters and brothers fighting to protect Canadian citizens every day without fail, because that is what we were born for.

Anonymous

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5 Comments
  1. Bob permalink

    Commensurate with an organization that does not care about its people is the reality that it also leaves the organizational door wide open for abuses of its employees at all levels, by all levels: it is one of the sad truisms that is often reflected in the posts here. Some of us are able to weather the storm and others not so much – but not one us leaves the organization physically/mentally untouched by this disregard.

    The occupation of policing is a demanding job in itself. Many of us take great pride at our service to the Communities we worked in. However, the added “stress” that an uncaring organization provides makes the occupation unnecessarily more difficult one hundred fold.

    I wish you the fortitude to continue on but a word of caution; you and your spouse (family) will be impacted. Sometimes the impact(s) does not surface for many years of service and often manifest themselves in obscure ways. To give your heart, soul and sometimes blood for an organization that has little regard for your existence does start to wear thin; your tolerance will be tested.

    To all those that continue to to fight the good fight I admire your tenacity and courage.

  2. No Longer Believe permalink

    Bravo … good on you for saying what you feel and speaking the “Truth:” These days there needs to be a better way to police, publicly and within the force. The mentality of the HQ Crowd is outdated and surely one that belongs in the 1800’s. The Force has not changed mentally and lives in the past, the force should be made to separate itself from it’s own internal way of thinking. The police are humans and humans are to be judged in our society, as people who are no better or worse. The separation of Internal discipline and it’s rewards … doesn’t happen in the public realm. If you do something criminal, and the RCMP has done this many time over, from spying, burning barns, sexual harassment etc etc … assault and the list goes on … they don’t get charged like the public do. They are an entity with it’s own laws … period. Take a look at the government, as well, Parliament Hill fiasco a few weeks ago, and the sexual harassment of 2 MPs … interesting no laws on Parliament Hill, it’s a void area, stupid … its physically Canada and yet our laws don’t apply on this piece of property. So it goes with the RCMP, they are exempt because of? One day all of those people will be accountable, and held responsible for their deeds. They can’t stay exempt forever, because the people won’t accept that. Change or disband.

  3. You have a lot of members feeling like you. You are NOT alone…What this organization needs is a true representation of the front line members…the ones who count the most….I urge you to call the Mounted Police Professional Association and relate your story….A div rep is working for both sides and unfortunately under the rank of s/sgt your not getting what you deserve for representation…

  4. Anonymous One permalink

    Holy cow anonymous. Surely you are a long lost twin of mine because I thought these were my words and I thought perhaps I just forgot that I posted this. I cannot tell you how much I relate to every single thing you said. How you were so proud to become a fine member of the RCMP, how your family travelled from afar to see you graduate, how you worked so hard and gave 100% to the RCMP with little or no appreciation. And again, same with me. It wasn’t about feeling that I deserved more than others but I wasn’t even recognized for doing the hard work I did. No one said to ‘slow down, you’re going to burn out’. No one managed the shift and the workers so that the shift was balanced. No one cared when the shifts were short-handed. That’s ok they said, we’ll “risk it out”. That means they were taking a chance on your life because they decided to leave the shift short instead of spending a few bucks to get someone in on overtime.

    I was young and I just wanted to do my best, even though I noticed over time that things weren’t as they first seemed. The core values were starting to lose their shine and their authenticity. I was a good member because I had a good mix of compassion and work ethic. I give all credit of my abilities to my parents, NOT the RCMP, because it was my parents who taught me what values really were. As you stated, it’s what we were born to do. And that is why most of us join the RCMP. Too bad our managers don’t get this though. They should be treating us as an investment, because we are. But instead it’s like we don’t exist…until we screw up. Then they tae notice. And all the good you did for the past 20 years goes out the window. Then you are scum of the earth.
    My theory as to why the RCMP keeps workers like you and me in front line work is because we are efficient and we don’t complain. We get things done with the little they give us and they like that. We often work a couple extra hours past our shifts and don’t claim overtime because we appreciate and love our job. That’s just part of being dedicated. We want to give back. Why would they want to move us or promote us to another position that would benefit us and give us a chance to grow and broaden our work experience? They care about what serves them best, not us. So Instead we stay there until we get stagnant, sick and burn out.

    And that’s when you realize after all these years who really cared about your health and well-being. I too became bitter and angry when it finally sunk in (because I didn’t want to believe it) that I was just a number, not a name and not a person. I resent that I put so much into my ‘career’ and received so little care and consideration in return. The RCMP are out for themselves. They do not care about their members. It’s that simple. Just look at how they are forcing sick members out…members who devoted their LIVES to this job…members who have kids to feed. And their attitude? “Oh well, better you than me” or “it was just a matter of time anyway…may as well accept the medical discharge now because if not you’ll only be forced out will Bill C42 anyway”. I don’t get that callous, uncaring attitude.
    If you are a member reading this now and you don’t think this is how it is, or you don’t think this could happen to you, just come back here in a few years when you have been discarded like a dirty sock. We’ll be here waiting for you. Because we didn’t think this would be us either.

  5. thewolfinsheeps permalink

    The hard truth is that the RCMP does not care about it’s membership. An entity filling a job position number that needed to be filled. If you leave, retire, or die…they plug another sheep into your number and The Big Red Machine (as I like to call it) trudges on, like a gigantic rusty robot. I have much anger toward the RCMP and at times I find it hard to put that aside and spend time contemplating exactly what is wrong with the organization, and can it be fixed? I have moments of rage less thought where I find myself doing this. Then i stop myself and wonder why I care, after the way the RCMP has treated me? I often hope to myself that it will fall apart. Seems the only way for many of us to feel any sort of vindication.

    A couple of years ago I found myself in an OIC’s office having a frank discussion. See I’m no longer afraid of these people. I speak my mind and have no fear of consequences. This is what they thrive on. They want you to feel like you are in grade school and they are the principal. Rather than a meeting of comrades with common goals. Anyway, morale in the detachment was/is likely the lowest in the Division. At the time it was particularly bad. I’ll give this guy credit for one thing, he actually asked me if I had any ideas on what to do, how to solve the morale issue. In general Officers know everything, and don’t need any advice from anyone on how to run things. They are all so intelligent. So I gave this guy a number of pointers on how to be a leader. I could’t believe that I actually had to TELL him how to lead, but I did. This was nothing earth shattering to anyone who knows anything about leadership 101. I pointed out a number of things in the detachment that I knew would boost morale. Things that HE had the power to change. Most of the things I spoke of had to do with one thing and one thing only. The members in this building need to know that you give a shit about them. That you CARE about their day to day toils and how difficult the job is internally and externally for them.

    The OIC sat there rubbing his chin and contemplating my suggestions and then told me that some of the things that trouble members he can’t change or would take a long time to change. I told him that bureaucracy doesn’t matter. If you can’t change it “Sir” then at least acknowledge it. TRY to change it for the better if there is a better way. Make an effort! Communicate this to the members. You want them “onside”. Then act like you are on their side. That you understand their frustrations. Not just lip service, but effort. If you get shot down by Division it does’t matter, what matters is the members will see what you tried to do FOR THEM. Most “leaders” in the RCMP don’t understand that they work for their subordinates, not their superiors. That, in my opinion is how you build loyalty and morale. If you show you care about your people, they will do anything for you. They will work tirelessly. Why? Because you have earned their respect. You see there is a huge difference between earning respect and demanding it. That’s what senior managers in the RCMP have lost sight of.

    In the end, the OIC did nothing that I suggested. Not that I have all or any of the answers, but I just thought I would share with him what had worked for me throughout my 23 years of service. But…what would I know? I was after all not an Officer. I’m sure I know why he didn’t do anything. To do so, he would have to question existing policy, rules, and procedures. Dangerous waters in the RCMP. For an upwardly motivated Officer, career suicide. That’s a big no no. So…steady as she goes on the “USS Dysfunctional”!

    In my opinion, things have digressed so far in the RCMP that there is little hope in saving it. OCDP is the biggest old boys club going. Nothing more than a bunch of buddies helping each other get ahead. There are some good ones, but our track record has shown, not nearly enough. How many times have we each found ourselves saying, “now that guy should be an Officer”? But those guys rarely get into the program. Why is that do you think? The program is not promoting the true leaders amongst us, the best and brightest of us. The only way to “save” the RCMP is to get rid of 90% of the officers out there, revamp OCDP and start over. As it stands corruption, nepotism, and narcissism perpetuates more of the same and so on and so on. You can’t get into the gang unless you tow the line, and the line is attached to a big jumble of broken parts.

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