Blue Line

The Rock’s first female Mountie commanding officer

October 23, 2012  By Danette Dooley

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by Danette Dooley

For the first time in its history, the RCMP in Newfoundland and Labrador has a female at the helm.

A/Comm Tracy Hardy accepted command of B Division from RCMP Commissioner Robert Paulson during a change of command ceremony at RCMP headquarters in St. John’s October 4.


Hardy takes over from outgoing commanding officer Bill Smith, who retired from the force in May.

Hardy joined the RCMP in 1981 and has policed in Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, British Columbia and the Yukon. Before accepting her new position she served as commanding officer for Prince Edward Island.

Hardy said it’s a privilege to be chosen. Like many police officers, she said, she joined the force to try and make a difference in people’s lives.

“It will continue to be my priority to ensure that we are well trained and properly equipped, working under the best conditions given the nature of our work,” Hardy said.

Hardy also gave accolades to RNC Chief Robert Johnston, who attended the ceremony.

“The strong commitment our employees have and the amazing working relationship that we have with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary allows me to say, Bob (Johnston), that it is an honour to be partners with the oldest police force in North America.”

Hardy said she’s taking on a job that will be as challenging as it will be rewarding.

She thanked Smith for his leadership.

During his time as commanding officer, she said, Smith not only listened to but cared about his employees.
“His management team said his best quality was his common sense,” she said.

After thanking his family for their support and Hardy for accepting the job, Smith had some words of advice for RCMP members.

“Always remember where you came from. In the end your family and friends are your greatest assets. Be fair and treat others as you would want to be treated. Do the right thing, always.”

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale was among those on hand for the ceremony.
Dunderdale – whose son Thomas Dunderdale is an RCMP officer in Bonavista, Newfoundland – described Hardy as a trailblazer, pioneer and role model for police officers and young women considering policing as a career. She is diligent, hardworking, thoughtful, down-to-earth and extremely conscientious, Dunderdale said.

Hardy’s collaborative leadership style will be beneficial in working with community groups, other police agencies and various levels of government, Dunderdale added.

“Her career of leadership within the RCMP makes her the ideal person to lead B Division.”

Dunderdale said Smith showed a great affection for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, establishing strong relationships with RCMP members and the people they serve.

“To be a police officer you must have a passion for helping others and love working and interacting with people. Your overall goal must be to serve the citizens of your community and to do your very best to ensure their safety and security,” Dunderdale said.

The premier said Hardy has already shown she has the same, passion, drive and desire to work with people as her predecessor.

During a media scrum following the ceremony, the premier responded to a question about “troubled relations” within the RCMP.

There have been numerous news stories about harassment of female RCMP members by their male counterparts. That’s something she discussed with the commissioner earlier in the day, the premier said.

“It’s important to acknowledge when things in the past haven’t been done correctly. When wrongs have happened, we need to acknowledge that – but we need to move on.”

Paulson said, as a leader, Hardy brings with her a commitment to accountable policing.

“The work we do is very important. However, how we do it is perhaps ever more important… Tracy is the right person for this job. She lives our values and she will ensure that this division will continue to be led in an effective and ethical way,” Paulson said.


RCMP A/Comm Tracy Hardy, Comm Robert Paulson and outgoing A/Comm Bill Smith sign the transfer of command parchment.

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