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Professor Darryl T. Davies Responds to Commissioner Paulson’s Message to Rank and File

Jul 19

I have recently been supplied with a copy of an email that Bob Paulson sent to the rank and file regarding a recent article in Maclean’s Magazine criticizing his handling of the carbine issue.  Please consult my earlier comments on this site in order to place what follows in context.  It is true that Bob Paulson sent a letter to me on June 21, 2010 indicating he was disappointed with my report.  What is remarkable of course is that the report I had provided to the Use of Force Section on March 1, 2010 was a draft report.   It is incredible that a government agency that purports to be unhappy with a report that they paid a significant amount of money for would not even meet with the contractor to discuss their concerns.  This despite three and half months of phoning my contacts in the Use of Force Section and innumerable emails no one called me back.  Until I received Paulson’s letter on June 23 2010 I heard absolutely nothing from anyone at RCMP headquarters regarding my report.  Not a single word.   With Paulson’s arrival on the scene I learned that he had muzzled his employees and I found such action abusive and insulting not only for his staff but for me as a contractor.  As for a delay in receiving my report Paulson conveniently neglects to point out that there was a delay in having the questionnaire translated into French and that by year’s end only 40 percent of the questionnaires had been completed and returned to RCMP headquarters for analysis.  In fact, at the end  of January 2010, another 20 questionnaires arrived.  To suggest to the rank and file that I didn’t deliver the report on time is just another example of Paulson digging a hole for himself.

As a result, in May 2010 I filed a formal written complaint against Bob Paulson with the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.  On July 7, 2010 I received a reply from Rick Stevens an Enquiries and Complaints Analyst advising me that the concerns in my letter did not appear to qualify as conduct of the RCMP in the performance of a duty or function under the Act and as a result they were unable to process my complaint under Part VII of the RCMP Act.  I have provided a copy of this letter to Maclean’s Magazine (File no. 5430-2010-2198).  My point in sharing this information is that it is unprecedented for a contractor to be treated so unprofessional by a government department.  I couldn’t believe that the RCMP would pay  a substantial sum of money for a report and then show absolutely no interest in meeting, discussing or contacting the researcher to discuss its contents until almost four months later.

The email Paulson sent out to the rank and file conveniently neglects to mention the fact that I replied to his correspondence on June 26, 2010 and copies were sent to him both by email and fax.  Despite this fact he never contacted me either by phone or email.  What does this tell you about his management skills?  What does this tell you about his communication skills?  What does this tell you about his abilities as a leader?  What does this tell you about his credibility?   As I recall these were all qualifications the former Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said that the government would be looking for when they appointed the next Commissioner of the RCMP.  Since Paulson didn’t mention that I replied to his June correspondence in his email to the rank and file perhaps it would help if I shared that information with them.  You be the judge.  While Paulson is entitled to his own opinion he is not entitled to own set of facts.  So let’s have some evidence based information.  Consider the following letter that I sent to Paulson on June 26, 2010:

Dear Commissioner Paulson

I acknowledge receipt of your correspondence dated June 21, 2010 with respect to my report ‘Aiming for Safety: A Needs Analysis To Determine the Feasibility of Adopting the Patrol Carbine in the RCMP.

My report was delivered to the Use of Force Section on March 1, 2010.  At that time, I made it clear that what I was providing was to be regarded only as a ‘draft report.’  I also indicated that I would be available to meet to discuss any aspects of my report and to make any changes or additions required at no cost to the RCMP.

For the past three months I have attempted unsuccessfully to reach staff in the Use of Force section to arrange a meeting to discuss my report’s findings and recommendations.  I have been conducting contract work for federal government departments for the past nine years.  It is common practice to submit a draft report to a client and then meet to discuss any changes or additions to the body of the report that the client may require.  As I received no feedback whatsoever I logically concluded the report must be acceptable to the RCMP.

The receipt of your letter this past week indicates that this is not the case.  In the interest of good communications, it would have been far more productive to convene a meeting in person to discuss any concerns you had about the report rather than simply sending me a letter, months after the report had been submitted.  With respect to the points raised in your correspondence I offer the following comments:

First, the Use of Force Section approved my methodological approach which entailed designing and administering two survey questionnaires, one to firearms experts in the RCMP and the other to rural, municipal and urban police departments.  Feedback from the OIC of the Use of Force Section elicited nothing but positive comments both on the design and content of the two survey questionnaires.

Second, I proposed and developed terms of reference for convening a round table of firearms specialists and RCMP internal and external stakeholders in order to consult them on specific issues relating to the patrol carbine.  I was later informed however that for reasons of cost the possibility of holding a round table did not receive the go ahead from senior management in the RCMP.  In my view a valuable consultative tool that might otherwise have impacted on the report’s findings and recommendations was lost as a result.  To suggest therefore that the report did not provide appropriate consultation with internal and external stakeholders is not the fault of the researcher.

Third, the terms of reference for the carbine project explicitly stated “the researcher will be partnered and required to work with certain subject matter experts as directed by the OIC Use of Force and Operational Programs or the Patrol Carbine Project Manager. “   These parties could include internal as well as external parties.  At no time was I partnered or asked to work with subject matter experts or internal/external parties during the course of the project.  This underscores my second point.

Fourth, your letter states that your reviewers were expecting an evidence-based rationale for and against the implementation of a patrol carbine for the RCMP based on the Canadian experience.  You also mention that the report relied heavily on American sources.  The terms of reference makes it abundantly clear that I was to conduct a ‘comprehensive’ review ‘of both open source (i.e. FBI Officer Shooting Report, etc) and secure information (as provided) associated to patrol carbine programs.’  Historically, US law enforcement agencies have had considerably more experience with the patrol carbine than police forces in Canada.  In addition, there are ‘no’ empirical studies in Canada (published/unpublished) that I am aware of that have specifically contrasted the effectiveness of the patrol carbine over the shotgun other than the executive type reports cited in my report.  Regardless, the Canadian reports would ‘not’ qualify scientifically as empirical studies.  Furthermore, at no time (and the terms of reference makes this clear), was I asked to base my literature review on the patrol carbine solely on the ‘Canadian experience.’

The substantive aspect of my report dealt with the views, opinions and observations on the carbine/shotgun from firearms specialists in the RCMP and in rural, municipal and urban police departments from across Canada.  With all due respect, to suggest the responses of 100 plus police officers, ‘does not probe the information available on the topic with sufficient scrutiny’ is in my opinion factually  incorrect.  Moreover, it is a disservice to all those police officers that took the time to complete the questionnaire.

I have been willing since March 1, 2010 to meet with the OIC Use of Force Section and other interested parties to discuss any concerns or issues that they may have concerning my ‘draft’ report.  If this is still a possibility please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours Truly

So this is the letter that I sent to Paulson.  If you were the Assistant Commissioner what would you do if you received a letter of this nature?  Would you ignore it and not reply?  Surely any reasonable person would have contacted the writer but not Paulson.  He never once directly or indirectly contacted me to discuss my draft report and he made certain none of his staff did.   You can draw your own conclusions about how he has dealt with the carbine issue since he became Commissioner.  In his email to the rank and file he says the Maclean’s Magazine article is unfair and that my report was deficient.  Based on the above I will leave it up to you and the rank and file to decide what is unfair and what is deficient.

Darryl T Davies BA, DIP CRIM (Cantab)
Instructor, criminology and criminal justice
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Carleton University

The above views are those of the author in his personal capacity and they do not represent the position of Carleton University.

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17 Comments
  1. Paulson thinks of nothing but himself and his bonuses. He could not care less about members just like he gave up his family for a privy counsel friend to become Commissioner

  2. Bob permalink

    The Commissioners response is rife with traditional RCMP strategies in the face of criticism: deny, deflect, distort and discredit. Strategies not employed by responsible, accountable organizational leaders. It would seem the Commissioner is open only is open to criticism that meshes nicely with his/organizational view of reality.

    While I am not one of those that would suggest that the presence of Carbines in NB would have/might have mitigated the outcomes (still too early w/o full facts), the length of time this took the RCMP to launch the program is nothing short of appalling. Where is your statement on that Commissioner Paulsen?

    The RCMP could never be accused of being proactive, nimble and responsive. Is that how you want your organization to run Commissioner Paulsen? Where a one page NHQ policy update on notebooks takes almost a year? Where Course Training Standards (CTS) can sit forever in policy centres and legal review for upwards of a year and beyond for approval? A well oiled organization – I think not.

    Even if we accept Commissioner Paulsens “reality” it still took four years after Mayerthorpe (2006-2010) for a decision to conduct a study and implement that decision; after all, lets not rush things. There are still many unanswered questions he and his predecessors need to answer.

  3. Validation of your comments are appreciated by active and retired members alike. When I read between the lines I cannot help but define the willful lack of communication and action by the Commissioner as reckless behaviour…..as found in Sec 217.1 CC. My question is, how do we petition the various levels of Government to demand an investigation on this? An investigation by an outside police agency would open the gate for active members to provide statements without fear of recourse.

  4. Buck permalink

    Interestingly enough the period of time in which all this occurred, would have coincided with the period of whining and snivelling by HQ Senior Executives as they were trying to throw William Elliott under the bus for what they called bullying. During a period of this nature the narcissistic feeding frenzy that would be occurring at a frenzied pace, which may have as Mr. Davies notes result in a lack of communication to him regarding the purpose of his contracted work.

    I’m sure Commissioner Paulson at this time was tunnel visioned on his jockeying for position in the political world to gain the position he currently clings to, most decidedly his record since being appointed is haphazard and all over the strategic media communications map. When your leader is consistently contradicting and try to coverup transparency by pointing fingers at other people and organizations, its a sure sign he is in full floundering mode. Mr. Davies has had a front row seat to this spectacle.

    On a final note, of which I feel is self serving on the Commissioners part in concert with the SEC, the matter of using the memories of member’s death while on duty as a call to honour and respect them by being silent. That silence is what prevents action from taking place, If you wish to honour the memories and service of the fallen, speak up and have their sacrifice create profound change. The life you save, may be your own.

    I wish the RCMP Commissioner would recognize the fallen members who have taken their own lives, respect their many years of service and pay attention to the reality of PTSD and the destructive toll it takes when ignored or brushed off, hopefully without a whistle and crazy finger twirl around his ear.

    Thank you for your work Mr. Davies.

    Buck

    • Very well said. Ya know, since Paulson has taken this job, 31 members have taken their lives. Not to point fingers but to give fact.

  5. Anonymous permalink

    It would appear, Mr. Paulson, that you have blood on your hands. Shame on you. You are one big hypocrit for this tragedy and a host of many other things. The membership deserves better than someone like you.

  6. Helene Desabrais permalink

    This is awful, just awful. In my opinion, since Paulson has been appointed, only lip service was delivered to protect their image. I think the RCMP is the only organization that makes huge mistakes and NEVER say “sorry”. It is always everyone’s fault. Leadership does not exist in the RCMP. They use and always used the old paradigm of “management”…top down.
    LN

  7. Just being updated that since 2006…..31 members(that have been recorded) have taken their lives. That is appalling! These members still have a voice and their is no doubt that intermingled with their stress was management. I would only hope that the survivors, the families have had time to grieve and would now, at this crucial time, continue their lost ones voices. Don’t take me the wrong way. Please. My heart Is with the families. However, I’m certain that these people have a lot to say.

    On another topic, how is it that prisoners in all of our federal and provincial institutes have associations, and the RCMP do not? My thought is that without these inmates having their association there would be continual riots.

    Food for thought.

    Terry

  8. Dave permalink

    It all boils down to MONEY. Back in the day, late 1970’s I was required to certify members for shotgun use. The phrase “I was required” needs to be paramount in this discussion. I was rationed at 5 rounds of shotgun ammunition per member. The shotguns were 12 gauge Remington with folding steel stocks. That configuration of shotgun had a murderous recoil. I was required to instruct proper technique and observe members firing 5 rounds with the weapon. A 6’3″ 200 Lb man would flinch badly after the first round. Members lessor in stature both male and female were scared to death of the recoil. The shotguns were just going into PCs at the time and all members received this training from instructors who were “instructed” to certify members with such little training.

    I can hardly wait for the war stories on C8 training!

    • The Old NCO permalink

      Yes Dave, I recall the CYA training provided by the RCMP for the noted 12 gauge Remington shotgun. I am sure if a video of that training had been made it would have been an embarrassment to the force had other Police Agencies seen same. It certainly met the priorities of the force as it was cost effective.

  9. Anonymous permalink

    Recent statement by A/Comm. Brown of J Div. found on the J Div. website.

    ***************************************************************************************************************************

    Internal review into Moncton shootings

    July 28, 2014

    To: All Employees of J Division

    On June 30, Commissioner Paulson appointed former Commanding Officer of H Division, Assistant Commissioner Alphonse (Phonse) MacNeil (ret’d) as Review Officer to conduct an internal review of the tragic events that occurred in Moncton on June 4 of this year.

    The Commissioner provided Phonse with a mandate letter outlining thirteen key areas for review:

    1. Tactics and Response to the initial call on June 4, 2014

    2. Decision making and Risk Assessment to the initial call on June 4, 2014

    3. Supervision during the entire incident

    4. The Evolving Response

    5. Equipment and Weapons

    6. Member Training and Officer Safety Skills.

    7. Operational Communications

    8. Communications/Media

    9. Broader Police Review

    10. Firearms Possession by the Accused

    11. Perpetrator Information/Intelligence

    12. After Care of Members and Staff

    13. Implementation of Mayerthorpe Recommendations

    As the Review Officer, Phonse has assembled a core review team made up of RCMP employees from across Canada. The majority of the team is working in Moncton and is comprised of employees with diverse backgrounds and expertise to ensure a thorough and objective review of the facts. Team members include; Staff Relations Representative (SRR) Sgt. Dave Lowry, PS Chantal Dugas, Sgt. Dwayne Kelly, Cpl. Mike Sims, Insp. Rick Shaw, Supt. Tim Head and Insp. Steve Wade. H Division Communications Unit will provide communications support. In addition the team has the authority to call on Subject Matter Experts within or external to the RCMP to provide advice and opinions.

    It is important that I reiterate the purpose of the Review because I want to make sure you have information and understand why this is taking place. The review will seek to analyze the circumstances that led to the death and injury of our members and will provide recommendations that will center on police and public safety and the welfare of our employees. The Review was initiated to ensure that key operational and administrative issues are addressed in a timely manner and to that end the Commissioner has set a deadline of 90 days to complete the review and table the final report.

    In order to achieve this goal, the Review team is requesting your assistance. It is critical for the team to gain access to all possible relevant information and part of this means speaking to employees of J Division. Some of you will be contacted directly by the team; however, in addition to this they are asking that anyone who believes they have information that could assist them in their review to please contact the team as soon as possible. The team can be contacted by telephone: (506) 856-8148 or email: Moncton_Review. I encourage you to contact them if you have anything to offer.

    This incident has had a profound impact on our entire division. We are still coming to grips with a tragedy that took Doug, Dave and Fabrice from us and injured Darlene and Eric. While we continue to seek answers through the criminal investigation, it’s equally important to review things internally so that we can learn from it. We need to find those best practices and identify gaps that can be filled so we can become even better as an organization. I am confident in Phonse and his team to deliver just that and again, please offer them any assistance you can.

  10. EFamia permalink

    Internal review into Moncton shootings
    July 28, 2014

    To: All Employees of J Division

    On June 30, Commissioner Paulson appointed former Commanding Officer of H Division, Assistant Commissioner Alphonse (Phonse) MacNeil (ret’d) as Review Officer to conduct an internal review of the tragic events that occurred in Moncton on June 4 of this year.

    The Commissioner provided Phonse with a mandate letter outlining thirteen key areas for review:

    1. Tactics and Response to the initial call on June 4, 2014

    2. Decision making and Risk Assessment to the initial call on June 4, 2014

    3. Supervision during the entire incident

    4. The Evolving Response

    5. Equipment and Weapons

    6. Member Training and Officer Safety Skills.

    7. Operational Communications

    8. Communications/Media

    9. Broader Police Review

    10. Firearms Possession by the Accused

    11. Perpetrator Information/Intelligence

    12. After Care of Members and Staff

    13. Implementation of Mayerthorpe Recommendations

    As the Review Officer, Phonse has assembled a core review team made up of RCMP employees from across Canada. The majority of the team is working in Moncton and is comprised of employees with diverse backgrounds and expertise to ensure a thorough and objective review of the facts. Team members include; Staff Relations Representative (SRR) Sgt. Dave Lowry, PS Chantal Dugas, Sgt. Dwayne Kelly, Cpl. Mike Sims, Insp. Rick Shaw, Supt. Tim Head and Insp. Steve Wade. H Division Communications Unit will provide communications support. In addition the team has the authority to call on Subject Matter Experts within or external to the RCMP to provide advice and opinions.

    It is important that I reiterate the purpose of the Review because I want to make sure you have information and understand why this is taking place. The review will seek to analyze the circumstances that led to the death and injury of our members and will provide recommendations that will center on police and public safety and the welfare of our employees. The Review was initiated to ensure that key operational and administrative issues are addressed in a timely manner and to that end the Commissioner has set a deadline of 90 days to complete the review and table the final report.

    In order to achieve this goal, the Review team is requesting your assistance. It is critical for the team to gain access to all possible relevant information and part of this means speaking to employees of J Division. Some of you will be contacted directly by the team; however, in addition to this they are asking that anyone who believes they have information that could assist them in their review to please contact the team as soon as possible. The team can be contacted by telephone: (506) 856-8148 or email: Moncton_Review. I encourage you to contact them if you have anything to offer.

    This incident has had a profound impact on our entire division. We are still coming to grips with a tragedy that took Doug, Dave and Fabrice from us and injured Darlene and Eric. While we continue to seek answers through the criminal investigation, it’s equally important to review things internally so that we can learn from it. We need to find those best practices and identify gaps that can be filled so we can become even better as an organization. I am confident in Phonse and his team to deliver just that and again, please offer them any assistance you can.

  11. Anonymous permalink

    The commissioner is just another self-serving piece of shit and didn’t have the balls to express his discontent in a ‘discussion’ with you but rather cower behind a letter to tell you. Sounds very typical of the commissioner.

  12. Toby permalink

    As a serving member of the RCMP, I have become disillusioned beyond belief.
    We get lowest bidder body armor ($199) and our heavy duty pistols are 19 years old that are not appropriate for combat shooting (Vancouver Police is on their 3rd semi-auto pistol).
    I am so disappointed in our management who seem to try to find examples to promote themselves while discrediting other members.
    What have I done: I have purchase my own shotgun rifled slug ammunition because we don’t have any in detachment stock; I have purchased my own uniform pants (issued pants are deficient); I have purchased my our body armor because I do not want to die; and I take all necessary precautions while serving in my limited duration post (I want to survive my last year and return to my family).
    I am not going to mention our need for a union to represent members.
    The RCMP functions by serving Canadians with outstretched resources (I frequently work alone and attend domestics by myself), poor equipment, and inadequate training (we do not get containment training which could have prevented the Moncton tragedy).
    The RCMP works because it is carried on the backs of front line members who sacrifice their blood, sweat and tears.
    In my humble opinion, I do not trust what Commision Paulson (Uncle Bob in our conversations) has to say about anything.
    Just misdirection and blaming of others while not taking personal ownership of the problems at hand is evidence enough.
    Commissioner Paulson is the commanding officer and wants respect, but one needs to earn the respect as a police officer by leading by example.
    Sadly, this has yet to happen.
    I am still proud to be a Mountie.
    But disillusioned.

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