What should be done with police memorabilia?

The Mass Casualty Commission is investigating the massacre where 22 people were killed by a gunman wearing parts of an RCMP uniform and driving a replica RCMP car.

The discussion organized by the Commission involved diverse perspectives from collectors, lawyers and former police officers.

Phil Baileywho retired from a career with the Edmonton police, said he has hundreds of hats, badges and coins from police departments across the country.

It’s a pridehe said. Some of the badges were provided to me by the families, because they wanted the symbol of what their family went through to be recognized.

He believes collections like his preserve stories that might otherwise be lost.

It’s part of who we arebelieves the retired RCMP officer Brian Carter. In his opinion, wearing his badge and identification helped him when he intervened in car accidents.

But Julia Cecchettothe former police chief of Kentville, Nova Scotia, does not think retired officers of any service should have these items.

Whether it’s written in retirement or not, the public doesn’t see it. They see a shiny badgeshe said during the discussion.

Boots and a case on the lawn.

Items left by the Portapique shooter behind a welding shop in Debert, Nova Scotia. These included the shooter’s uncle’s RCMP boots and a holster.

Photo: Courtesy: Mass Casualty Commission

However, these three retired officers agree that it was important to keep their uniforms to wear for memorial services such as Remembrance Day or police funerals.

Julia Cecchetto nevertheless specified that she would be willing to wear the jacket dedicated to retired officers instead of the uniform if the police department paid the bill. Because this outfit can be expensive.

The Montreal lawyer, Meg Daniel also participated in the discussion. She made a point of recalling that for many Aboriginal people, the RCMP and his uniform are a symbol of oppression and trauma.

She recalls that the force had a role to play in maintaining the residential schools.

The risk and the benefits

The inquest heard that most identity theft cases in Canada over the past 25 years did not involve real police objects. It has often been enough for someone to convincingly claim to be an agent.

Brian Carter think it would be so impossible to prevent police impersonation in Canada, so in his opinion the main thing is to reduce the risk.

For example, removing the ceremonial RCMP uniform from retired members, will that have an effect on the risk? You could say no, because people can make the uniformshared Brian Carter.

But Meg Daniel and Julia Cecchetto both said that as mothers, if they lost children in an incident like the mass shooting, no benefit or argument would outweigh the risks.

The punishment is so great, and we know that this punishment is more likely to be inflicted on people who do not receive any of the benefits of these symbolssaid the lawyer.

Julia Cecchetto speaks at a microphone.

Julia Cecchetto, retired police chief in Kentville, Nova Scotia, speaks during a discussion on the fate of police memorials on April 27, 2022 in Halifax.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Julia Cecchetto believes the world is changing. She talked about attempted fraud over the phone or on the Internet. In his opinion, the police must adapt to this new reality and the police must get used to having their legitimacy questioned.

The commissioners said they would take the entire discussion into account in their report.

The federal government awaits the conclusions of the commission

With the coming into force of a new provincial law on May 12, Nova Scotia will become the only province with a law that prohibits the possession of police equipment or badges without authorization.

With information from François-Pierre Dufault and haley ryan of CBC


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