Open letter of thanks from the BC RCMP Commanding Officer

Letter from Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan, Commanding Officer, BC RCMP:

ON behalf of all of the employees of BC RCMP, we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Province of BC for proclaiming February 1, 2020 as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Appreciation Day.

Spearheaded by Martin von Holst, this grassroots initiative to create a BC RCMP Appreciation Day was started by individual community members in Vernon who wanted to recognize the men and women of the BC RCMP who keep the province’s communities safe.

They formed a committee and sought the support of Victor Cumming, the Mayor of Vernon, Eric Foster, the MLA for Vernon-Monashee, and North Okanagan-Shuswap Member of Parliament, Mel Arnold. The committee launched a petition and collected over 1000 signatures from local citizens. The campaign also received letters of support from seven MPs, 37 communities and 18 MLAs in BC.

It is my understanding that, armed with this support, the committee intends to introduce a private members’ bill proposing that February 1st be recognized as the National RCMP Appreciation Day.

It means a lot to us to know that the work we do has the support of the people of this province.

February 1st is also the day that, in 1920, the Royal North West Mounted Police amalgamated with Dominion Police of Eastern Canada to become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The history of the RCMP dates back to 1873 and we are preparing for the 150th anniversary celebration in 2023.

The RCMP has a strong history in the province of BC and I feel privilege that our commitment to keep you safe is being recognized in this way. In fact, it was in 1950 that the RCMP took over policing duties from the BC Provincial Police marking the important milestone of serving BC for 70 years. Since that time, the province and the RCMP have grown and evolved together.

As your provincial police force, we are proud to serve, live in, and support communities throughout British Columbia. We collaborate with local groups and businesses to adapt what we do best, and we create local solutions that meet the needs and priorities of the region.

It has been a challenging year, one with a number of high profile files and operational successes. We continue to do outstanding work in the areas of road safety, guns and gang violence, opioid and drug investigations, as well as championing a number of reconciliation efforts.

These successes include, but are definitely not limited to, the Federal Serious and Organized Crime file where two men were arrested for importing heroin following a multi-national investigation; the roll-out of cannabis legislation that changed how police across Canada conduct business; and the arrest of a man for the historic homicide of a young woman named Vicki Black in Vancouver. This summer, the three homicides in northern BC and the subsequent pursuit of two suspects across Canada proved to be one of our most complex and fluid investigations.

Yet, with each challenge, it is your continued support for the work that we do that enables us to collectively make a positive difference in the communities where we live and work.

I must also highlight the amazing dedication of over seventy-five hundred RCMP volunteers assisting detachments, districts and integrated teams across the province. These efforts are further enhanced by the literally tens of thousands of British Columbians, including businesses, organizations and individuals who work in partnership with their local police services on a variety of initiatives and programs.

Since taking command in June 2019, I am inspired by the quality of our partnerships with individuals, our partners and our stakeholders. After having working nationally and internationally, I chose to come back to BC where I started my career, and where I still call Vernon home.

I want to thank Martin von Holst’s Vernon committee, and local elected officials, to pursue the idea of having a BC RCMP Appreciation Day and making it a reality.

On behalf of the BC RCMP, I want to thank all British Columbians. We are humbled by this honour.