Brenda Lucki said all the right things while being sworn in as the first female commissioner of the RCMP in history this past Thursday, Sept. 6, at Regina, Sask.’s, F Division.
Lucki comes aboard during one of the darker periods in the RCMP’s fabled history, with public distrust in the force at an all-time high, and more than a little unrest within its own ranks as claims of bullying and sexual misconduct and/or harassment continue to rise.
The commissioner actually stepped into her new role about six months ago and immediately set out upon the road to gather thoughts, ideas and opinions from members within the force’s rank and file.
Taking the time to speak face-to-face with officers across the country was a smart move by Lucki, who declared the lines of communication open within the force with the move.
It was also the right move to make by a new commissioner who cites rebuilding trust within the force as her top priority, and there can be no doubt that truly opening the lines of communication would be a solid first step in the direction of reaching that objective.
As a force, the RCMP has made a bold statement in its outright acceptance of Lucki’s appointment as its commissioner.
It’s time for change, especially when it comes to sensitivity issues, bullying, sexism and male cops not really seeing their female counterparts as true equals.
And it’s past time a female officer was given the chance to set the ship straight and Lucki could be just the woman for the job.
Lucki also announced the force is going to take the necessary steps to repair its relationship with Indigenous people, although she didn’t go into any specifics on just how she sees the force being able to do that.
It should be noted, however, that she was honoured during her time posted in Manitoba for her efforts in improving relations with the First Nations population in that province, so it may be wise to not bet against her ability to do so on a national scale.
Lucki has stated it will be sometime in 2019 when she unveils her master plan to highlight what she hopes to accomplish during her time as commissioner.
And she gets brownie points for throwing out the notion that it just might be time for the RCMP to look inward at some of its core values to see if they do, in fact, reflect reconciliation.
Her statement that the RCMP are going to continue with perceptions and cultural-awareness training was a complete no-brainer, but it was a statement that had to be made nonetheless to start planting the seeds of faith in her leadership, both within the force and among the public it protects.
Lucki has gone out of her way throughout her more than three decades on the force to accept no preferential treatment as a female officer in a world dominated by men.
And she has stated publicly, on the record, that she has always been driven to leave any community she served in in better shape when she left than when she first arrived.
My favourite comment made by Lucki was a few months back in her first major interview after being appointed that she, “would obviously like an RCMP that’s more agile, more capable, more innovative, more tolerant, more inclusive and absolutely more respectful.”
In short, the almost perfect Canadian police force.
Lofty expectations to be sure, but Lucki has been described by many in the force as a cop’s cop, who is both approachable and easy to talk to.
Lucki just may be the right person in the right place at the right time to restore our once prestigious force back to its former glory.
This corner says she’s the woman for the job!