New RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki

Congratulations and best wishes to new RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Brenda Lucki has just been named as the new RCMP Commissioner by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Lucki is currently in charge of the RCMP Training Depot in Regina, a position she has held since October 2016.

Lucki will assume her duties as the 24th RCMP Commissioner on 16 April 2018 and, significantly, she will be the first female officer to be appointed as the full time Commissioner of Canada’s national police service.

The news of her impending appointment was leaked by the Government, not coincidentally, on International Women’s Day. While many have wondered whether the Prime Minister’s aggressive championing of ‘feminism’ might increase the chances of a female being appointed as Commissioner, it is not an exaggeration to say that Assistant Commissioner Lucki was not on most peoples’ guess lists of whom might get the prestigious and challenging appointment.

Lucki’s 32 year career within the RCMP has included several interesting postings including undercover work, drug operations, international assignments and liaison with First Nations communities for which she was awarded the Governor General’s Order of Merit. Her most recent posting at Depot may also be an advantage as inherent to it was multi issue co-ordination and emphasizing and prioritizing the core values of the RCMP.

Soon to be Commissioner Lucki will face significant institutional and operational challenges when she assumes command. Among these are how or whether the RCMP can continue its historical local contract policing with its unique national law enforcement mandate and how funding is best allocated. Like other agencies, the RCMP is mired in issues of sexual harassment and needs to find a way to modernize its ‘culture’ and put an end to this behaviour. The RCMP is also on the verge of significant change in terms of its oversight and accountability practices as the Force will soon have independent officer representation which should be a positive development as it will create enhanced internal accountability which supports operational institutional performance. Hopefully the new Commissioner will view the presence of the new members’ association as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

The RCMP is also dealing with a dramatically changed, and changing, crime and national security environment. It is literally on the front lines of dealing with these issues, all too frequently in circumstances where legislation and funding are not where they need to be.

All of these challenges confirm that, more so than ever, the RCMP needs leadership and not just management because there is a difference. I’m confident that all Canadians truly wish our new RCMP Commissioner all the best as she assumes her incredibly important duties on behalf of us all.    

– Scott Newark is a former Alberta Crown Prosecutor who has also served as Executive Officer of the Canadian Police Association, Vice Chair of the Ontario Office for Victims of Crime, Director of Operations for Investigative Project on Terrorism and as a Security Policy Advisor to the governments of Ontario and Canada. He is currently an Adjunct Professor in the TRSS Program in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University.