Canada’s top cop was asked about several high-profile controversies involving the RCMP as she joined more than 200 former and retired Mounties on the West Shore to celebrate BC RCMP Appreciation Day.
RCMP Comm. Brenda Lucki was at Royal Colwood Golf Course for the annual event, which doubles as an anniversary marking the amalgamation of the North West Mounted Police and Dominion Police to create the RCMP as we know it today.
But it wasn’t all celebratory. Lucki fielded questions from media on everything from police brutality to underrepresentation of minorities.
The visit also happened hours before the BC Prosecution Service announced that two officers in Prince George are facing manslaughter charges linked to the 2017 death of a suspect. Three others face obstruction charges in relation.
While she wasn’t asked about Prince George RCMP specifically, Lucki said maintaining public trust is critical.
“Trust is not something that starts and finishes. It’s something that is earned,” she said. “And we work to strengthen it each and every day, and that’s our commitment, my commitment as commissioner of the RCMP,” she said.
The union representing RCMP members, National Police Federation, is also concerned about modernizing its recruiting efforts.
The RCMP is competing with departments like the Victoria Police, which in December 2021 publicized a signing bonus of $20,000 to experienced officers.
“I think we have a different policing model that attracts many people even from the other police agencies. There’s so many careers within one career at the RCMP,” Lucki said.
Meanwhile, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is calling for an end to police brutality in Canada.
Lucki says the force is working hard to represent the people it serves, with women making up 22 per cent of the force and what she says is a growing number of minority groups.
“I say that we’re at seven per cent, which is one of the highest in federal government. But that’s not good enough. We need to be more representative of all communities we serve,” she said.
Despite the tough questions, a community of officers, past and present, marked a day meant to thank the national police force for its service.
READ MORE: Two B.C. Mounties charged with manslaughter, three others face obstruction charge
WATCH: RCMP reports trouble recruiting for police forces on Vancouver Island and across Canada