Apologies for my lack of skill on here and I have not been following the forum regularly for awhile.
I wanted to say to Brihard, great post. You are 100% on target.
You can bet that everyone involved will be armchair quarterbacking their own decisions. Having been the supervisor making decisions when gun calls, bomb threats, robberies, pursuits and all the other calls come in. There aren’t many times when you don’t look back at what you could have done better, faster, smoother, safer. I feel sadness for the people of N.S. especially those directly affected, it is devastating. Including those that made decisions that seemed correct at the time that will now haunt them the rest of their lives.
While I am confident that all the processes that will have months and years to pick apart the response will find areas for improvement. Some simpler than others. Some well meaning but not easily implemented.
I have never worked in H Division (N.S.). But I have been posted to K (AB), D (MB) & Nat HQ. Having done assignments in BC, SK, PQ, NWT, NFLD and International Policing. Most of that in front line operational policing, predominantly rural.
Many people think that rural policing is Mayberry. Slow speed, simple files, relaxed. Far from it. It is the hardest policing to be done. Large patrol areas, often numerous distinct communities, lower population ratios meaning less resourcing and limited access with long distances to specialty services. And long distance in each province and territory takes on different meanings like an hour drive, or 8 hours drive, 3 hr ATV ride, 2 hrs by hi rail, 1.5 hr by boat, 4 hr flight IF weather to land.
Your General Duty Cst in those spots does it all. School liaison, Media, traffic enforcement, first response to all types of calls including many violent ones. Then in almost all cases. That GD Cst takes on that investigation with limited help all the way to the end. I want to point out that the clearance rates and quality of investigations in rural RCMP detachments have been compared to “big city” police. They have been found to meet or exceed the standard. You don’t get “better” policing because you live in a big city. You just get a different delivery of policing.
I found as well trained and professional EMS, Firefighters, Teachers, Nurses, Doctors, etc in those small communities as I did in bigger centres. Often better as they were more well rounded. But like the police they were often staffed and equipped based on the lowest common denominator.
If you were to give me more money in many of those communities often I wouldn’t have bought more cops. I would have gotten more of all the people who can better address the underlying issues that cops have to deal with later.
To be good at front line operational policing and stick to it in your career, is a skill.
I have talked to members who worked with Heidi. She was THAT cop. Good with people, hard working and a solid investigator. I have no doubt that she made a calculated decision. Knowing the possible outcomes, and didn’t hesitate.
Drones, more helicopters Or fixed wing, 2 member cars are all nice ideas. In some instances we can improve in some of those areas. It only costs money. But it isn’t simple to do and in many cases while I want more resources. I don’t want them in 2 person cars. While the budget for a helicopter could get me so many of the things I need before I need a helicopter.
I worked in a northern community 10 hrs drive from Edmonton, where we policed about 2000 people in two communities. 8 members and 5 pickups, 2 snowmobiles and 2 ATVs. About 5000 investigations per year and 2500! Prisoners. 2 yr limited posting. Any extra funding I would have spent on my members to make life better and to get more members. A drone would have only helped out a dozen times a year. A helicopter maybe the same. But at what costs.
The RCMP has something like 10 different funding models:
International policing programs paid for by Foreign Affaires,
National policing programs that support all Canadian Law Enforcement Agencies,
Federal Policing addressing National - International crime, Terrorism, Borders, etc,
Protective policing, PM, GG, IPPs, Parliament,
Fenced funding For special positions and /or projects with other agencies, IE CBSA, CAF, etc
Contract Policing itself has small and big municipal contracts, enhanced positions, provincial policing, tripartite positions.
All of these have different ways to pay for salaries, equipment, how the money is spent and on what. Each has someone directing how they want their share spent. For the RCMP in AB to get another aircraft ( there are 4 now. 2 Pilatus, a Cessna and an A-Star) (The A-Star Isn’t for just traffic operations. That is a secondary role.) Who pays isn’t a simple answer.
I have been most scared when I have been alone or with a few members at something life threatening where more support was too far to matter. I have been most stressed when making decisions for those calls that would directly affect others lives. I have seen people die because of their choices, but never one of the members I was leading, luckily. I have been proudest when my members have come through the other side having done their duty.
I am 25 years in and not sure I want to go many more. The RCMP (like any organization makes lots of mistakes, almost always evolving and improving).I hope you all can appreciate a little of the complexity.
Sorry for the ramble.