RCMP150 O Division employees reflect on their service - S/Sgt. Terrance Cameron (retired)

In this Q&A, Staff Sergeant Terrance Cameron (retired) helps to mark RCMP’s 150th anniversary by sharing some of his experiences as a police officer for the RCMP and senior investigator for the United Nations (UN). His career spanned 40 years, from graduating (Troop 27) in 1974 to retirement from the UN in 2013.

Tell me a little about your career?

I have vast experience in Federal Policing but I started out in general duties and highway patrol including northern fly-in patrols to remote locations which is experience that shaped me as a police officer.

I have worked in in O Division (Ontario) Immigration & Customs, Federal Enforcement and Criminal Operations, including a 6-month secondment to Cornwall during the 1990 Oka Uprising in charge of the Anti Smuggling Unit.

I also did a couple of different UN Peacekeeping missions including UNPROFOR (UN Protective Force Former Yugoslavia) as UNCIVPOL (Civilian Police) Station Commander at Grubisno Polje, Croatia and UNCIVPOL Station Commander at Gorazde, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

In fact, in 1998 I took leave from the RCMP to join UN International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (UNICTY) as Senior Investigator based in The Hague, Holland.

I retired from the RCMP in 1999 to take permanent position as Senior Investigator with UNICTY and finally retired permanently in 2013.

What do you remember the most about your time at RCMP Training Academy (Depot)?

S/Sgt. Terrance Cameron (retired)

My initial memory was being in awe of the fact that this is the place where every member of the RCMP before me had come and endured. The troop environment where everyone took care of each other, developed teamwork and team spirit appealed to me. I felt a great sense of pride in making it through the training regime and graduating and I know all others before and after me feel the same.

Looking back at your service, is there a time or type of work that you value the most?

I would have to say it was my northern duty in Norway House (D Division – Manitoba) that I really valued. It was an environment where even junior members were tasked with major investigations, which would not happen so easily in the southern detachments. There were a lot of "one-man" inland patrols and fly-in reserves where I had to handle whatever came at me. I learned a lot about investigations and gained tremendous communication skills, which really built my confidence and prepared me well for future duties elsewhere.

Thinking back, after all your experiences, if you could give your “depot self” one piece of advice to help you in your future career, what would it be?

Always strive to be the best at what you do. Realize you can learn something from everyone you work with, whether it's something you want to emulate or something you want to avoid doing.

Describe the proudest, scariest or hardest moment in your service.

Without a doubt, the scariest was during a night time winter snowmobile patrol near the Island Lake Airport in northern Manitoba, when the Band Constable that I was working with went through the ice. Getting him out of the water was very difficult, he was a lot bigger than I was, and I got pulled in at one point but was able to get back out. The ice was so thin I couldn't trust the weight of the two of us on my snowmobile so we ended up cautiously and slowly walking back across the ice to get help and shelter. This left me with a life long fear of being on frozen ponds or lakes.

My two Peacekeeping tours were incredibly important and give me a sense of tremendous pride. Living everyday under fire, taking care of my personnel and helping the locals was stimulating, exhausting and so worthwhile. Being able to achieve things that had a good impact on so many people made all the "bad stuff" easier to deal with.

Since your retirement, do you feel it is important to stay connected to the RCMP? If so, how have you remained connected?

The Force becomes a major part of your life while serving, and I enjoy staying connected through the Vets Association where I am the Division Secretary. I also stay connected through RCMP groups on social media.

I worked hard to project the image of the Force that I grew up with and I’m proud to mark this milestone as a Veteran of the RCMP.
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