In 1916, the RCMP purchased two McLaughlin Buicks for border patrol duties along the Manitoba-United States Border. The use of trucks and motorcycles in the RCMP commenced in 1920 with the purchase of 10 Reo trucks and 15 motorcycles. The power toboggan (snow-sedan) was first introduced in 1948; the term snowmobile was first used in 1955 and gradually replaced the sled dogs in northern service, as motor vehicles had replaced the horse.
Through the years more and more vehicles were purchased by Land Transport Section to meet the ever-growing transportation needs of the RCMP. In 1968 Land Transport Section became part of Materiel Management Branch. On March 11, 1974 the Land Transport Section was absorbed by a new Transport Management Branch which had the responsibility of administering both motor vehicles and water transport.
In 1994, Transport Management Branch was reorganized and incorporated with Materiel Management Branch. The procurement side of Transport has become a section of the Materiel Procurement function. The policy side of Transport is now known as Fleet Program Administration.
The mandate of Transport Management Branch involves the planning, development, implementation and administration of transport management policies and programs for the RCMP. This mandate is achieved by carrying out centralized policy making, budget forecasting and managing, procurement, records keeping and maintenance of the RCMP's total fleet of land transportation vehicles and equipment.
The diversity of duties performed throughout the RCMP demands a wide variety of vehicles. These specialized requirements are met under contract with the manufacturers using a mix of RCMP or government motor vehicle specifications. The RCMP specification is a refinement of the broader government specification and defines vehicle features unique to a policing role. This specification is reviewed with all vehicle manufacturers and updated annually.
Patrol vehicles are equipped with a "police package" that provides an upgraded suspension system, heavy-duty power train, speed-rated tires and other features for increased durability and safety. Air bags and anti-lock brakes became standard equipment in the 1990s. The fleet consists of various makes and models of cars and trucks. These are selected to meet a variety of operational and administrative vehicle requirements such as:
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