National COVID-19 Update – Team RCMP – May 15, 2020

Commissioner's broadcast sent May 15, 2020

National Police Week is usually a time to connect with Canadians outside of our law enforcement role, and to celebrate the special and important relationship we have with the communities we serve.

Normally, the week would be marked with community activities. Parking lots across the country would be filled with the smell of hamburgers and hotdogs on the barbeque and the sound of friendly chatter as the whole spectrum of society – from elected officials, to our "regular clients" to passers-by – stopped in to enjoy a bite to eat and get to know the people who keep our streets safe. We would visit schools, and elders, and we would shine up our cars and motorcycles so kids could sit in those seats and picture themselves in our uniform some day. Instead, our celebrations are confined to a screen.

COVID-19 can put a damper on our events, but not our sense of community, and not our sense of teamwork.

In our national and global drive to protect our most vulnerable from a deadly virus, our front line has had to face an unseen risk, drawing on medical guidance, training and experience with other hazards from fire scenes to fentanyl to stay safe on the job. Others have been moving mountains to make sure that the front line gets what they need, whether it's supplies of personal protective equipment, vital information on cleaning, or support services or relief resources.

I know this is hard.

It is hard for the front line, who have been out there on the street, facing those risks and worrying about their families. It is hard for those who want to do more to help, but simply can't. It is hard watching stores and gyms and other services starting to open up while we have to hold the line and keep up our precautions, because if we get sick, we can't help others.

We, as a police organization, are a special case. And it is hard being the exception.

But hard is what we're good at. Hard is what we're prepared for.

Nobody makes it out of Depot thinking it's going to be easy. Nobody works in our offices and headquarters without realizing that we will do what must be done to support our front line.

We feel the disruption this has caused, but the true mark of success is that most of the people we serve can't see a difference. We may be wearing masks and other PPE, and some of our front counters may be dark, but we're still there when they need us.

We have to be patient and we have to be strong.

We also have to be kind. None of what we are going through is by choice. Critical services are working because they are maintaining our core mandate – that's the job and the reason we exist.

Those who are working from home are doing so because they can't go into facilities that have to stay clean for critical workers. But they are still working. They may be working long hours from their kitchen table to ensure the front line gets what they need, and they are the reason that everything from PPE to pay are still flowing.

There are some that can't work, but they're not doing nothing: many have family responsibilities but no options for child care, with schools and day cares closed, and families and other supports cut off. I have heard from many of them that they feel bad that they can't do more.

Most of all, we have to be positive. We are still doing the job Canadians need us to do, and doing it well. The public and our partners do appreciate us. And we will get through this, but only if we stick together as a team. Only if we appreciate what every employee brings to the organization, and understand that every one of us is doing everything we can under incredibly difficult circumstances.

This is a critical time for leaders – formal and informal and at every level of our organization – to step up and show people the way. Help us stay positive and don't let negativity take root. Help keep everyone focused on the good that we're doing. Reach out and keep in touch with your teams and help them keep in touch with each other – they need contact and support.

We're all tired, and we may be frustrated, but we're all here for the same reason – a common purpose – and it is more important than ever that we help every one of our colleagues on Team RCMP to keep going.

Brenda Lucki

Stay informed

Please review the national COVID-19 Infoweb site – we are adding new information every day. I urge managers to review these sources daily and ensure that you share them with your teams.

For those without access to the Infoweb or ROSS e-mail (including families):

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