I am a retired member of the RCMP and a permanent resident of Richmond since 1971. I worked at Richmond for about four and a half years during the '70s, and again for four years during the '80s.
I would like to add my support towards the city keeping the RCMP.
For years I have been critical of some members of the RCMP for less than professional behaviours as well as the senior leadership, or lack of it.
In January and March of 1993, I made two presentations before Justice Wally Oppal's Commission of Inquiry where I addressed these concerns.
I did not have any success in changing things. However, I did not give up and continued on with my futile attempts.
It was only after writing the Minister of Public Safety (Vic Toews) did I first see the start of real progress towards change.
The next promising thing I saw was the appointments of the new Commissioner Robert Paulson and Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, CO of E Division.
I have since communicated with each of them, and on July 16, 2012, I met with two inspectors, and we spoke for several hours. Upon the specific request of Deputy Commissioner Callens, they were provided copies of the two presentations I had made to Justice Oppal in 1993.
On Nov. 26, I received a thank-you letter from Commissioner Paulson, wherein he gave to me the following assurances: "I want to assure you that I am working diligently to ensure that our internal processes and policies support the hard-working and honest members of the Force, and provide for appropriate disciplinary measures for those members who demonstrate unsatisfactory behaviour.
"I am proud of the men and women of the RCMP, and I am committed to resolving this situation and returning the focus to our critical work of keeping Canadians safe."
Throughout this whole process, from 1993 onwards, I have never advocated replacing the RCMP. However, I have strongly advocated for change within the RCMP.
Because of the progress that has already been made and with other changes soon to come, I am doing a 180-degree turnaround and wholly support the RCMP and its new leaders.
I cite the following as other good reasons to maintain the services of the RCMP in Richmond:
1) No one in senior RCMP management is running away from these issues. Rather, they are facing them head on, with viable solutions.
2) We have absolute assurances from the Canadian Government via the Minister of Public Safety, the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Deputy Commissioner of E Division on these matters.
3) One very important change yet to come is legislation that will enable the Commissioner to take fair, firm disciplinary actions, including discharge, against those less than honourable members.
4) I would also like to refer to a Letter to the Editor, dated Dec. 19, 2012, where a Mr. Scott Stewart so ably illustrated the increased expenses that would occur if the city opted for a municipal or regional force.
It goes without saying that there are a lot of dedicated, honest and hardworking members doing their jobs on the streets of Richmond, and elsewhere in Canada.
So let's keep these same people here in Richmond, protecting and keeping us safe!
Dave Patterson Richmond