You may have arrived here via a direct link to a specific post. To see the most recent posts, click HERE.

Monday, June 22, 2009

EDITORIAL: Damage to RCMP image hard to measure

June 22, 2009
The Prince Albert Daily Herald

There is considerable power in cloaking a group in a well-branded image. No better examples exist than in the world of sports.

The Montreal Canadians - les Habitants - have not come close to touching Lord Stanley's cherished cup in years, yet they are still shrouded in the mystery of one of the most storied and successful hockey franchises in history.

Likewise, in baseball, the love-them-or-hate-them New York Yankees have also cast an image as the most successful baseball franchise in history.

But images have power on both sides of the public support equation, and when things go bad for a group with a unified image, things can stay that way.

How bad must it be, then, for the RCMP? Once heralded as the "always get their man" defenders of truth and justice, there's little positive image for the Mounties these days - certainly not after Friday's bombshell news that the officers central to the Tasering death of Robert Dziekanski have openly lied under oath, if contents of an e-mail just released to the Braidwood Inquiry are at all accurate.

Further, the email implicates several high-ranking members of the RCMP in what at best appears to be actions of utter negligence, and at worst seem to suggest that many high-ranking Mounties were involved in fabricating outright lies to create a false impression of what happened the Dziekanski died.

Given the latest evidence, there are now some serious allegations that can, have and must be made, allegations that may well find more than a few officers with the RCMP facing criminal prosecution.

But even if those responsible for the death of Dziekanski - a death that now seems even more avoidable than it did a week ago - are held accountable, the stain on the RCMP serge will take years to remove.

This is not an incident that affects the few men and women directly involved in the Dziekanski death and subsequent cover-up. It tarnishes the entire force.

Just as the RCMP image once elevated its individual officers in the eyes of the public, many now associate the RCMP with a needless death and a reprehensible attempt at a cover-up in wake of that death.

The RCMP will suffer greatly because of those few involved in the Dziekanski scandal, much to the detriment of the many men and women who don the uniform with pride, passion and dedication.

No comments: