It's been four months since Brenda Lucki was appointed as Commissioner of the RCMP, and all eyes are still on the force's first permanent female leader.
Since April, employees and Canadians have turned to Lucki with renewed hope, confident that the woman tasked with leading the RCMP will steer the organization through a period of innovation and modernization.
So far, Lucki has emphasized that the people of the RCMP are a key priority moving forward. In the coming months, she plans to visit detachments in each of Canada's provinces and territories.
"I want to be accessible and meet people face-to-face so they can get to know who I am and vice versa," she says. "I want them to be more connected to me as a leader."
That commitment came to fruition last month, when she spent several days touring New Brunswick. There, she met with employees and residents, joining in on foot and marine patrols, attending a Sundance Ceremony at Elsipogtog First Nation, and paying her respects to fallen officers at the RCMP memorial in Moncton.
Before that, Lucki testified at a hearing in Regina, Sask., as part of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She delivered an apology to families on behalf of the RCMP.
To reinforce her commitment to reconciliation, Lucki will be meeting with Indigenous leaders as she makes her way across Canada.
To build on her people-first approach, Lucki and RCMP executive leaders have asked for employee input to create a modernization plan. In July, Lucki put out a call to employees for innovative ideas, comments and suggestions on how the RCMP can be improved.
"We're looking at making positive change, so we need positive input," says Lucki. "I want everybody to have a voice and be part of the solution. Everyone has a role to play."
Over the coming weeks and months, RCMP management will review a consolidated report of the suggestions and incorporate them into a clear, measurable plan to share with employees and Canadians.
The plan will spell out the direction for the RCMP's next five years, on the road to the organization's 150th anniversary in 2023.
"What organization has the history that we have? What organization has the responsibility to keep all Canadians safe? Only the RCMP," says Lucki. "But with that comes the responsibility of making sure all our employees feel safe and respected, and that's what we have to strive for."
One thing is certain — Lucki says the plan will put the RCMP's people first, focusing on improving workplace culture, bolstering diversity and ensuring employees are supported on and off the job.
"If people aren't taken care of, it's hard to do the best they can on an operational front," says Lucki. "But if we take care of our people, we'll have great operations and that will lead to a safe Canada."
Lucki emphasizes that the process will take time, especially in an organization of 30,000 people. In the meantime, she encourages employees and the public to be patient and stay positive.
"There's going to be a lot of change happening in this organization in the next couple years, so hold on to your Stetsons everyone!"