Friday, June 06, 2014

Dear RCMP New Brunswick...

You don't know me, and we've never met. But I was privileged to watch you work through this week's unimaginably tragic shooting of five of your members. Like most Canadians, I watched through a combination of gritted teeth, tear-filled eyes, knotted stomach, and balled-up fists. Also like most Canadians, I couldn't even begin to imagine how you held it together and worked the problem while you mourned your loss.

Thankfully, and thanks to your expertise and heroism, the suspect was arrested without further bloodshed. Thankfully, you lived up to, and exceeded, the RCMP's storied history of always getting their man, and of doing so with respect and pride. There are a lot of reasons Canadians love you, and I'm willing to bet the snappy uniforms rank low on the list.

So when my phone rang today, I was happy to hear a Canadian Press reporter on the other end. I was similarly happy to share my thoughts on how you leveraged social media - a delicate balancing act on a good day, and an impossibly challenging one when things turn bad - to keep the public informed while simultaneously managing to avoid tipping off the apparently mobile-carrying suspect.

In doing so, you set new standards for using social media to manage a crisis, and your experience will become a case study that will teach other law enforcement agencies a range of online best practices for years to come. The article, New Brunswick RCMP masters at social media management, by Michelle McQuigge, can be found here.

I know none of this fixes what happened, or eases your grief. I know you all wish this had never happened in the first place, that you were never presented with this moment. But the universe doesn't always work as we wish, and despite it all, you managed to shine in an indelibly dark moment.

Your actions didn't only save lives in Moncton this week. As the lessons you laid down are absorbed by law enforcement agencies across the country and beyond, countless lives will continue to be saved, thanks to you.

May the memory of your fallen constables, David Ross, Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, and Douglas James Larche, always be a blessing. And may we always remember the leadership and courage you showed in bringing an end to the madness that so senselessly ended their lives.

Thank you seems inadequate, but it'll have to do for now.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I am sorry for their losses.

And hope you do not get the craziness that we have down here.

Pat Tillett said...

That is so terrible. Your letter to the RCMP sad and uplifting at the same time. I heard nothing about this in the media.