EDITORIAL – In the aftermath of Portapique, we owe huge debt to RCMP

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

IN THE SAD AFTERMATH of the horrible events in Nova Scotia, questions are being raised about the slowness with which RCMP alerted the public about a killer on the loose.

The inference is that lives could have been saved if people had known what was going on sooner.
Juxtaposed against the obvious heroism of police — including the death of Const. Heidi Stevenson as she tried to stop the suspect — this public expression of doubt adds to the tragedy.

Lord knows the RCMP aren’t perfect when it comes to public information. We often feel frustration with lack of detail about police-related events in our own community.

Just last weekend, for example, Kamloops RCMP revealed that an unnamed suspect had been arrested for an undisclosed incident on undisclosed charges.

Yet by their own account, this was a highly visible incident that ended only after a standoff. It was an example of the selective way in which RCMP release information.

But let’s stop and think about the outstanding job our police force does for us each and every day. Tuesday, they responded to a report of a hostage incident, called in the Emergency Response Team, locked down the neighbourhood, shut down Halston Bridge to traffic, and secured the house.

Fortunately, it turned out to be a false alarm, but the professionalism with which they responded was a clinic in good police work.

On any given day, RCMP deal with property crimes, drugs, stabbings, murders, brawls, domestic disputes, bicycle thefts — from the mundane to the highly dangerous.

They often must make split-second decisions, guided by their training and experience. There will be some painful post mortems about the Nova Scotia tragedy but we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our national police force.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8320 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – In the aftermath of Portapique, we owe huge debt to RCMP

  1. Absolutely! It is so easy to stand in judgement but as a retired RCMP officer correctly pointed out, cell phone service in rural areas is often spotty at best, so the likelihood of citizens receiving an alert, had one been issued is questionable. At any rate, what’s done is done. No doubt there will be lessons to learn. My heart goes out to the people of Nova Scotia, and especially to those who lost loved ones through the heinous act of one man. May all who lost their lives that day Rest in Peace.

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