William Leonard Higgitt



October 1, 1969 - December 28, 1973

Higgitt was born on November 10, 1917 in Anerley, Saskatchewan. At the age of 20, Higgitt joined the RCMP where he served in Saskatchewan for the next three years. From there he went on to intelligence and security positions in Ottawa, Montreal and Ottawa.

In 1945 he was closely involved with the security investigations which followed the defection of the Soviet embassy employee, Igor Gouzenko. In 1960 he was posted to London, England where he was the RCMP Liaison Officer for the United Kingdom and Western Europe. He travelled widely and acquired valuable experience as a member of the Canadian Delegation to the General Assemblies of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). In 1967 he was appointed the director of the security service at headquarters in Ottawa. On October 1, 1969, Higgitt was appointed Commissioner of the RCMP.

During his term in office, the Guidon was presented to the Force by Queen Elizabeth, the first videofile system for storing and retrieving fingerprints was obtained, airport policing was begun, the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) with nation-wide computer services was opened and the creation of the Canadian Bomb Data Centre was authorized. Higgitt directed operations during the FLQ Crisis in Quebec in 1970 and was responsible for organizing the many events connected with the RCMP Centennial Celebrations in 1973.

He was named Commander Insignia of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in 1971. He was also awarded the Canadian Centennial Medal, the RCMP Long Service Medal, and was elected President of Interpol in 1972, the first elected president from outside Europe.

Higgitt retired from the Force in 1973. He died in Ottawa on April 2, 1989 and was buried in the RCMP cemetery in Regina, Saskatchewan.


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by Stephen Luscombe