It was a fantastic experience that shaped my life and an honor to service 20+ years in a career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This part of my life was from February 14, 1969, to March 31, 1973, and from July 18, 1974, to June 17, 1990.
Wasn’t I the proud and special Canadian boy (in my own mind) who, in February 1969, had been accepted into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) after a lengthy vetting and recruiting process.
So before you read about my efforts a little history lesson. The RCMP has a fascinating history going back to 1873 with the creation of the North West Mounted Police with 150 recruits. Today it is a modern and vibrant force with some 28,500 staff and challenges of the 21st century.
The RCMP or the “Force” as it was referred to mostly is a different organisation today than when I was a part of it during my career. While the motto of “maintain the right” hasn’t changed, a lot else has.
The Force is organized under the authority of the RCMP Act and is headed by the Commissioner, who has the control and management of the Force. The RCMP enforces laws throughout Canada made by the Parliament. Administration of justice within the provinces, including enforcement of the Criminal Code, is part of the power and duty delegated to the provincial governments.
The RCMP provides police services under the terms of policing agreements to all provinces (except Ontario and Quebec) the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, as well as separate policing agreements to 180 municipalities. The Province and Territories and specialist areas are divided up into Divisions (or command areas) for the RCMP.
For detailed facts and information about the history and workings of the RCMP today please check out their website at RCMP Today
These are the stories of my experiences during my 21 years in the force and why it was so special for me. My service in the RCMP involved being “posted” or stationed at the following 14 locations during my 20-year career, so you can see why I consider myself a wanderer.
My career exposed me to a rigorous training regime, all elements of our society, the ugly and good, the brave and unfortunate and this provided me with a wide perspective and a unique understanding of human life in general.
It wasn’t always pleasant, often violent and at times heartbreaking – but it was what it was – and you learn to keep on going.
My wonder lust took hold of me after about 4 and half years of Policing and I took a 1-year hiatus from the Force by resigning as they wouldn’t give me extended leave.
I was off on an adventure, on my own, to backpack in Europe as the respite from daily fights, arrests and bar room antics that I had become accustomed to.
This is where my policing journey took me and the following pages tell the stories about each of the locations:
(1) Regina, Saskatchewan – Depot Division Training Academy – 14 February 1969 – 21 July 1969
(2) Ottawa, Ontario- A (now N) Division – Protective Security Parliament Hill – September 1969 – August 1970
(4) Ashern, Manitoba – D Division – Ashern Detachment community policing – August 1970 – July 1971
(3) Winnipeg Manitoba, – D Division – Winnipeg Detachment community policing – July 1971 – April 1972
(5) Portage le Prairie, Manitoba – D Division – Portage Detachment community policing – April 1972 – March 1973
(*) A break – backpacking Europe, North Africa, England & visit to Normal Wells, NWT- May 1973 – September 1974
(6) Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories – G Division – community policing – September 1974 – May 1975
(7) Norman Wells & (8) Inuvik, Northwest Territories – G Division – community policing – June 1975 – April 1976
(9) Innisfail, Alberta – Police Service Dog training – April – June 1976
(10) Toronto, Ontario – O Division – Airport Drug Squad dog handler – July 1976 – February 1978
(11) St. John’s, Newfoundland – B Division – Police Service Dog section – February 1978 – June 1990
(12) Coquitlam, British Columbia – E Division – Coquitlam Police Service Dog section – June 1980 – May 1982
(13) Toronto, Ontario – O Division – Drug Squad Investigations Team leader – July 1982 – September 1982
(14) Toronto, Ontario – O Division – Toronto airport policing manager – September 1982 – June 1990
From this map, you see where my postings were across Canada
Retiring from the Force
After 20+ years of being a part of the Force while living in the city of Toronto I was ready for a life change. During my airport role in 1990 I made the decision to take early retirement from the RCMP. It was a career choice to make; it was about either staying on until a later retirement after 25 or 30 years with more moves, changes of my role and for the family or the option of trying different experiences of life in a distant country.
My then-wife was keen to return to Australia after years away from her family and the children were at an age we thought they could assimilate easily with a new country.
Having made the decision to retire I was awarded a long service medal and we began the journey to immigrate to Australia.
Some 47 years on since going through recruit training and graduating on August 9th, 1969 our Troop had a reunion at Depot Division in Saskatchewan on August 9th, 2016. It was a time for re-connection and reminiscing with old mates about a time long gone and to hear about life stories. I was unable to attend this event but know it was a great time as recounted by those that did. A reunion website was developed to show how we have all aged slightly from those youthful days and to showcase the event. If your interested you can check it out: Troop 23 68/69
I have jogged the old memory, tried to write about my posting experiences and to tell some stories of the places I was exposed to, the type of work and a few cases that I remember.
This was a bit of a stroll down memory lane for me, so indulge my reminiscing and unfortunate lapses of memory in the stories details. You can follow the policing journey through the links below.