The Mounties, formally known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and previously known as the North West Mounted Police (NWMP), are Canada’s national police service, operating in the areas that don’t have their own municipal police forces.
Their formation dates back to 1873, and although their presence was intended to be temporary at the time, the organization lives on to this day and is more sizeable and influential than ever before.
Today, the Mounties are made up of over 30,000 employees who are proudly employed in a variety of roles, ranging from the prestigious commissioner position, through to constables, and even public service employees, and civilian members.
The vast number of employees is well aligned with their scope of work across Canada.
After all, the Mounties operate from coast to coast, in 700 detachments in 150 communities across the country, as well as in 600 Indigenous communities.
It is worth noting that they do not operate in Quebec and Ontario.
Each Mountie’s day to day responsibilities are dependent on the position that they hold within the organization.
However, one thing that all can be sure of is that no day will be the same as the last. The roles are innately dynamic and all meaningfully contribute to the wider effort of maintaining of law and order by protecting members of the public, their communities, reducing crime, and overall, improving quality of life.
Naturally, there have been times when the duties of a Mountie come with great risk. The very nature of the work means that the role is not without its perils.
Hence, a statue has been made to commemorate the officers who died whilst on duty; a statue saluted by cadets and civilians alike when they pass by it. It can be found in Moncton’s Riverfront Park.
In addition to this, a National Memorial Service is held on the second Sunday of September every year, at the RCMP Academy In Regina.
The evolution of the RCMP over the years is aligned with the evolution of Canadian society. That is, that the Mounties are diverse and inclusive.
At present, approximately 21.5% of Mounties are women, a number that the organization is committed to increasing, in line with the composition of Canadian society to ensure substantial female representation.
Many attribute Mounties to their world-famous red uniforms, officially known as the ‘Red Serge’.
These uniforms are actually reserved for special occasions, such as ceremonial occurrences. In reality, on a day to day basis, Mounties tend to wear blue or brown shirts, not dissimilar to police forces in countries all over the world.
On each and every uniform, the official RCMP badge can be found adorning the jackets.
The badge, featuring a bison head, maple leaves, a crown, and scroll, is the ultimate ode to Canada.
Nonetheless, whilst it’s not their day to day uniform, if you wish to see a Mountie donning their traditional red uniform, you can! Simply make your way to the Musical Ride.
The Musical Ride consists of 32 Mountie riders, all of whom are police officers, along with their horses. Together, they perform special, skilful drills and formations to music, for a duration of approximately 30 minutes.
The Musical Ride takes place in roughly 50 communities across Canada between the months of May and October. The tour dates can be found published online, so you can be sure not to miss out.
It’s a spectacle that citizens across Canada take immense pride in. It’s a memorable effort that goes a long way towards encouraging a positive attitude towards Mounties, fostering positive relations between the Mounties and civilians, supporting recruitment efforts into the organization, and importantly, fundraising for a range of nonprofits.
No doubt, joining the Mounties certainly is an exciting career prospect. If serving your country is a vocation that you’re interested in, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the joining criteria:
- First and foremost, you’ll either need to be a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status in Canada.
- Your levels of physical fitness should be excellent, as should your eyesight and hearing. All of these will be evaluated prior to acceptance into the organization.
- The days of Mounties saddling horses on duty have reduced considerably. Now, police cars are the vehicles of choice. That means you’ll need a valid driver’s license, and the ability to drive well.
- Of course, you should be in good health. Medical, lab, and psychological exams will be conducted prior to your joining.
- If you’re accepted into the organization, you’ll be enrolled into 26 weeks of training at the official RCMP Academy in Regina.
- Finally, flexibility is a must. It’s not uncommon for Mounties to be assigned to posts that require their relocation. Plus, all Mounties work shifts, which includes weekends, evenings and bank holidays.
If your interest in Mounties is unwavering, head to Regina! There, you’ll be able to join an immersive experience focused on everything you need to know about the longstanding organization.
You’ll also be able to visit the RCMP Heritage Center, a non-profit organization and museum that has existed since 2007.
Its sole purpose is to showcase the history of the Mounties through a series of stories and galleries, and it’s pretty fascinating stuff!