Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed the first permanent female commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Brenda Lucki, who has worked with the force for more than three decades, will take her position at the head of the national police in April, The New York Times reports.
Lucki joined the RCMP in 1986, according to the CBC. She once served in the former Yugoslavia and helped train and select police units for a United Nations civilian mission to Haiti. She also has experience working with Canada’s Indigenous communities — an important qualification, since the RCMP has been accused of harboring biases against Indigenous people. According to the CBC, was awarded a U.N. medal for bravery and her record of improving relations with Indigenous communities. She was born and raised in Edmonton.
The RCMP’s reputation has damaged by other controversies. Lucki is taking over from Bob Paulson, who resigned as commissioner after announcing a $100 million settlement with female officers and civilian members who had been subjected to sexual harassment and abuse by members of the RCMP.
Lucki is not the first woman to serve as RCMP commissioner — Beverley Busson held the post on an interim basis between December 2006 and June 2007 — but she is the first woman to be named as the RCMP’s permanent commissioner.
During a televised ceremony at the RCMP’s training academy in Regina, Saskatchewan, Trudeau said that the police force will have to work to “restore the RCMP to the full position of trust that it really should have in the eyes of Canadians,” according to the Times.
He also said that Lucki would “play a vital role in advancing reconciliation with indigenous peoples [and] promoting gender equality.” Lucki promised a new approach at the RCMP in her speech after being introduced as its new leader. “I may not have all the answers, but I definitely plan on asking all the right questions,” Lucki said. “And maybe some difficult ones.”
Below, watch the full video of Trudeau’s introduction and Lucki’s first speech as commissioner of the RCMP.