Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Mounties got their man - and he's got their number

Well, here's confirmation of what many of us have already figured out: Something's really wrong with the RCMP.
The new "top cop," RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, was in this morning's Globe promising to take extreme action to end the culture of bullying and history of botched investigations inside the RCMP.
What the heck happened to these guys, anyway? When I was a kid, being accepted into the RCMP was like a statement that you were smarter, more ethical, in better shape and certainly more dedicated than the average Canadian.
I don't know if that was a myth all along that has now been stripped away by one too many media stories about some drunk, violent, misogynist or otherwise disturbed RCMP officer doing something horrible. Or did something bad happen to what was once a noble profession in the intervening years?
At any rate, good luck to the changemakers. The concept of a national, well-trained and highly professional police force still appeals.
But trying to change culture is an extremely difficult undertaking that requires years of consistent, focused leadership that never wavers. Very few organizations have the long-term vision and stability to be able to pull it off.
You need compelling leadership to make it happen, but it's still bottom-up stuff. There's no way to force a change in culture from the top down. Just ask the Ministry of Children and Family Development about that.
My sympathies to the many good RCMP officers who have been tarred by a rogue culture and a few bad apples. But there's no question that something is deeply off-kilter inside the force.

1 comment:

e.a.f. said...

You may not be able to change attitudes but you can change behaviour. All the new head of the RCMP has to do is make it clear, if you bully, harass, kill, etc. you are fired. Once people understand that this is the new rule there will be changes in behaviour.

Part of the problem with the RCMP is they lost touch with who they were and headquarters became bureacrats who lost touch with the field and only were interested in their own careers.

You are right, back in the day, to get into the RCMP you had to be better than the average person and it showed. There were rules and they had to be followed. RCMP officers did not cover for each other. They told the truth. Oh, ya and the officers themselves had more pride in their roles.