Top News

Editorial: Crime and punishment

RCMP are on the scene of a barricaded man in McIvers on the west coast.
RCMP are on the scene of a barricaded man in McIvers on the west coast.

 

Higher-ups at the RCMP still don’t seem to get it.

Even after being found guilty last month in a high profile trial following the June 2014 shooting deaths of three officers in Moncton, N.B., senior managers are going about things the wrong way.

Cpl. Patrick Bouchard was a friend of the three Mounties killed by a lone gunman armed with a rifle in a shooting rampage through Moncton streets. Bouchard doesn’t want those officers to have died in vain and he’s called on RCMP brass to start listening to members on the front lines.

He spoke out after a New Brunswick judge found the RCMP guilty of failing to provide its members with adequate weapons and training prior to the shootings.

When police officers face discipline for speaking the truth to protect front-line officers and members of the public, something is wrong.

The focus of the trial was whether some of the deaths could have been prevented if the officers had been better armed — specifically, with carbines. While most Mounties are now equipped and trained to use the rifles, the Moncton officers didn’t have access to them in 2014. Senior management rolled the dice to save money and neglected their obligation to members.

Bouchard, a 15-year veteran, said the trial exposed the divide between the RCMP’s top ranks and Mounties on the ground.

Now he says he fears he could be disciplined for speaking out.

The Canadian Press reported on Sunday, “Bouchard said a performance log indicated that due to his comments, which had been televised, he did not meet the ‘basic competencies’ required by his position. The RCMP’s code of conduct requires its members ‘behave in a manner that is not likely to discredit the Force.’”

When police officers face discipline for speaking the truth to protect front-line officers and members of the public, something is wrong.

Senior RCMP managers don’t like challenges it seems, especially those made in the public domain. Management should concentrate on implementing changes instead of looking to punish one of their own. Secrecy only allows incompetence to remain unchallenged.

The RCMP’s code of conduct was cited as justification for rebuking Bouchard, but what about the failure of management to properly arm and train its members, resulting in three dead and two injured?

Bouchard deserves thanks for speaking out on behalf of police officers who keep Canadians safe, despite what it might mean for his professional prospects.

Since the Moncton shootings, the force has taken some steps to improve equipment and training for its members.

Widows of the slain officers say they are satisfied with the verdict. They feel there is now some accountability and that their husbands didn’t die for nothing, if other officers are protected, properly armed and trained.

Unfortunately, the action against Bouchard suggests the RCMP still hasn’t gotten all its priorities straight.

Recent Stories