A provincial cause with its roots in Vernon celebrated its first anniversary Monday, Feb. 1.
RCMP Appreciation Day is celebrated now in B.C. the first day of February each year as a way to say thanks to the police force for all it does in the communities they serve.
Vernon’s RCMP Appreciation Day in B.C. committee approached Vernon council in August 2018 asking for support.
“We are a group of Canadian citizens who would like to acknowledge a date to honour and recognize the men and women of the RCMP on Feb. 1 of each year,” said committee co-chairperson Martin von Holst, joined by co-chair Guy Bailey.
“We’re asking for a letter of support so to move forward with a petition to be signed by Canadian citizens, directed to the Province of British Columbia and the federal government to ultimately acknowledge Feb. 1 as RCMP Day.”
It was on Feb. 1, 1920, that Canada’s newly formed national police force was named the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Parliament of Canada voted in 1919 to merge the Dominion Police of Canada — formed in 1868, one year after Confederation — in the east with the North West Mounted Police — founded in 1873 — to create a national police force.
The Province of Manitoba is the only province or territory in the country to acknowledge and RCMP Day, which they do on Feb. 1 and have been doing since 2016.
The Vernon committee began a petition campaign and, in March 2019, announced that their campaign had garnered more than 1,000 signatures. Letters were sent to every MLA in B.C. and every community that has an RCMP detachment.
On Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, then Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster read from the proclamation at a special ceremony at the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives declaring Feb. 1, 2020, as RCMP Appreciation Day in B.C.
RCMP Insp. Kevin Keane was on hand to accept the declaration and said he was humbled and appreciated the support from the community and all levels of government.
The RCMP celebrated its 100th anniversary on Feb. 1, 2020.