Is increased recruitment enough to change the current dynamic where women are a minority in a culture that has not yet changed enough to make their experience welcoming? The short answer is no. History has demonstrated that increasing the representation of women in an organization or profession does not automatically result in culture change.
My boss might have felt that Kevin Vickers wrote that letter because he thought I'd feel beholden to him, or the police, or that I'd cover their stories more favourably. I don't think so though. I think he wrote it because that's the kind of officer he is. He is humble. He's not one of those "tough, bad guy" cops. He's a negotiator with a kind, fatherly smile, and a seemingly genuine desire to help.
Every day, women and men put on uniforms for the RCMP and RCAF, RCN, and the Canadian Army. Every day, those men and women set out to be the wall of flesh between us and harm. Every day, whether a major catastrophe affecting thousands or just one of us lost in the wilds, we know who to look for, who to trust in.
Fear of a re-occurrence of a similar incident could make a population more amenable to police state security, including the loss of freedoms, in exchange for perceived protections. Police state measures would likely include increased surveillance, normalization of lock-downs, plus more and better police armaments: a ramping up of the police-industrial complex.
The families left behind -- that's what is hitting me the hardest in the wake of last week's tragedy in Moncton that saw three RCMP officers -- three fathers -- gunned down. This weekend is Father's Day -- the first in a series of terrible 'firsts' that these will families have to face without husbands and fathers.
We eulogize these brave men and women after they sacrifice their lives protecting us. But what about the rest of the time? We in the media grumble about not having enough access or details in an RCMP investigation.The public is quick to jump on stories of RCMP misconduct or impropriety. Do we take them for granted? You bet we do. It shouldn't take blasts of violence and evil for us to recognize the risks they face daily and voluntarily. And when those risks are realized, we should remember that these tough, uniformed cops are very, very human.
We give people the shirt off our back. We listen when the RCMP say to stay indoors. We check on our neighbours and friends. And we all feel that creepy chills on the spine feeling knowing that he was in OUR neighbourhoods, by OUR Costco (it's the city's shopping mecca, after all!) and hurting OUR police. Because in Moncton, we have at most three degrees of separation. We all know a cop, a reporter, the mayor, the lady who runs the local gluten-free shop, the pizza guy.