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Manitoba RCMP appoints first female top cop

OTTAWA — A female Mountie has been appointed Manitoba's top cop, the Free Press has learned.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/01/2019 (1462 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — A female Mountie has been appointed Manitoba’s top cop, the Free Press has learned.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has named Chief Supt. Jane MacLatchy as commanding officer for D Division, which serves the province, as well as assistant commissioner.

She is the first woman appointed to this role in the province. An archive search shows men leading Manitoba’s Mounties for at least the past two decades. The Mounties did not allow female officers until 1974.

MELINA BOUCHARD / TWITTER Chief Supt. Jane MacLatchy has been named commanding officer for D Division in Manitoba.

MacLatchy will start the job Feb. 11, based out of Winnipeg.

She comes with three decades of RCMP experience that have ranged from high-level management to sensitive operations.

MacLatchy has been part of everything from ceremonial Mountie events to executive-diplomat protection teams and security for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

At one point, she was part of the RCMP branch that probes immigration, passport and war crimes. At another, she was the regional ethics officer, helping with training and enforcing the code of conduct.

Her latest assignment started in May 2017, when she headed security on Parliament Hill during the country’s 150th birthday.

The Parliamentary Protective Service was only launched June 2015 to replace a patchwork of security forces on the Hill, after a gunman stormed Parliament in October 2014.

The fledgling police force had growing pains, with a years-long labour disputes, tensions between younger and older officers, and criticism over hours-long lines at Canada Day events.

MacLatchy will go from overseeing a team of roughly 600 employees on the Hill to one that includes almost 1,100 officers across 87 different detachments.

The RCMP looks after almost all policing outside of Winnipeg and Brandon, though some towns have their own forces. In addition to rural policing, Winnipeg-based officers are part of the national teams that probe terrorism, financial crimes and gang networks.

MacLatchy’s appointment comes at a time when the RCMP is still trying to stamp out harassment and bullying of women in the force.

In March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Brenda Lucki as the RCMP’s first female commissioner.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Assitant Commissioner Scott Kolody served as commanding officer of the RCMP in Manitoba from June 2016 until his retirement Monday.

A national survey the RCMP conducted last year found just 43 per cent of respondents thought the RCMP treat women fairly, while 41 per cent said the RCMP “is helping build a better future for Indigenous people”

Mounties are often paid less than police in major cities, and they’re often addressing a higher crime rate.

Last fall, MPs started hearings on why crime is becoming both more common and severe outside Canada’s major cities. That discrepancy is worst in Manitoba, where the crime rate outside of the Winnipeg area is 42 per cent higher than in the city itself, according to Statistics Canada data released last spring.

On Tuesday, the speakers of both chambers of Parliament wrote that “MacLatchy has been instrumental in strengthening the physical security” around the Hill, and they thanked her for “exemplary service” in the job.

The RCMP said it could not immediately arrange an interview Tuesday.

Assitant Commissioner Scott Kolody served as commanding officer of the RCMP in Manitoba from June 2016 until his retirement Monday.

dylan.robertson@freepress.mb.ca

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