Policing is a rewarding career

Vernon woman officer is proud to be a member of the RCMP

I, like thousands of other members of the RCMP, have read with interest and even disgust, the numerous articles that have been recently published about sexual harassment within the RCMP.

As a female member of the RCMP, over my past 17 years of service as a regular member, I’ve been posted in two different provinces, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. My career has called for me to serve in locations which have been considered by many as having some of the highest crime rates and most violent per capita in Canada.

I want to make it abundantly clear I’m in no way judging the actual merits of some of the allegations being presently advanced in the media by the female members of the RCMP. I will be the first to admit an organization like the RCMP with more than 23,000 employees, unfortunately sexual harassment does exist to some extent. Sadly, human nature is such that anytime people work together there will be conflict to some degree. To suggest otherwise is foolish and naive.

That said, I believe the same case can be made for any large organization, regardless of whether it’s private or public sectors.

Over the last 17 years, I’ve worked side by side with many male members and male supervisors. What I can say without any reservation whatsoever is that I personally have never been subjected to any sexual harassment, nor have I witnessed anyone being sexually harassed.

To suggest that sexual harassment is rampant within the RCMP is rubbish and I would suggest that those making such broad-based and unqualified claims must be held accountable to validate their claims.

I can also say with complete conviction that whenever a complaint of sexual harassment has been made, that I’m aware of, the RCMP takes these allegations seriously and try to the very extent possible to deal with the complaints as quickly and as fairly as they can.

Clearly, it can be said that there are some members very happy and others not so happy and even disgruntled with the outcomes of these investigations. The fact needs to be naturally said, just because a female member makes a complaint of sexual harassment, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a credible allegation.

What has caused me to step forward is that the absolute vast majority of hard-working and dedicated and decent male members within the RCMP are being unfairly tarred with unwarranted and unsubstantiated assertions.

As a female member who has worked in RCMP for a great length of time, I can say I have always been treated with the utmost respect and have never felt sexually harassed in any way.

Over the course of my career I have been in numerous situations where my male partners and I had to put our lives in harm’s way to protect each other. Never did I lack confidence in my male partner nor did they in me.

All this said, I personally have had a very rewarding career within the RCMP. I can say without any reservations whatsoever, the RCMP is a very safe place for women to work and flourish in their careers.

I resent any female members making what I consider to be self-serving, unqualified assertions on my collective behalf and unfairly tarnishing the image of many, many hard working, decent, honest and dedicated male members of the RCMP.

Lastly, I would highly recommend a career with the RCMP for any female and suggest it to those interested in a policing career, whether it be with the RCMP or any municipal agency, to do so. The policing profession is a very challenging and rewarding career. I would also recommend that they not be dissuaded  by disgruntled members making broad-based and unqualified statements.

I’m extremely proud to be a female member of the RCMP and to serve my community with my male counterparts.

Cst. Susan Kolibaba