Bagpipes and cheers ring out as new commanding officer takes over Saskatchewan RCMP

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Commanding Officer Rhonda Blackmore, left, with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. (CBC News - image credit)
Commanding Officer Rhonda Blackmore, left, with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. (CBC News - image credit)

The ceremony began with all the pomp and circumstance you would expect: loud bagpipes, stomping boots and even some cheering. It was all part of the official swearing in ceremony for the 35th commanding officer for the Saskatchewan RCMP.

The ceremony marked the symbolic handover of authority from outgoing Commanding Officer Mark Fisher to incoming Commanding Officer Rhonda Blackmore.

Fisher has been the Saskatchewan RCMP's commanding officer since December of 2018. Blackmore was officially sworn in Thursday.

"It means so much to me. To end up in a position where you're a commanding officer responsible for an entire province is such a privilege," Blackmore said.

She said Saskatchewan being the place where RCMP officers from around the country come to train makes the province a special place to hold the role.

Blackmore is a familiar face within the RCMP. Some of her career highlights include being the first woman to make it to the emergency response team, achieving the rank of inspector in 2011 and then being promoted to superintendent in 2015. She was then later promoted to the director of operational policies and programs.

"I'm really, really happy to be here." Blackmore said.

Blackmore left Saskatchewan in 2018 to pursue an opportunity in the western Alberta district. It was there that Blackmore was promoted to the rank of chief superintendent.

CBC News
CBC News

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and representatives of the Ministry of Corrections and Policing, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, Métis Nation Saskatchewan, Regina Police Service, Moose Jaw Police Service, Prince Albert Police Service, Saskatoon Police Service and 15 Wing Moose Jaw were all in attendance at the ceremony, which took place at the RCMP Academy in Regina.

Lucki was full of praise for Blackmore.

"Rhonda, you're a trailblazer. Your outstanding experience with the RCMP and passion for developing and supporting all employees of the force is so commendable," Lucki said.

CBC News
CBC News

Blackmore said one of her main priorities out of the gate will be "continuing with our reconciliation efforts, with our Indigenous people."

"We have to make sure that we're providing that individual attention and care to those First Nations to acknowledge the differences between their First Nations and between the native people, and really understanding the challenges and needs of their specific First Nation," she said.

Another priority for Blackmore will working with the provincial government to target organized crime responsible for trafficking guns, drugs and humans.

"We really are targeting those individuals who are intent on causing harm to individuals."

She also listed recruiting as a priority.

Blackmore thanked Lucki and the Saskatchewan government for having faith in her to lead the province's RCMP.

"She's such a leader. And I'm just really so proud to see her in this position. And she's got such a great future in Saskatchewan and in the city." Lucki said.

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