Robert Henry Simmonds



September 1, 1977 - August 31, 1987

Simmonds was born on April 6, 1926 in Hafford, Saskatchewan. He joined the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, served overseas during the last year of the Second World War and joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on April 23, 1947. He served mostly in Alberta and B.C. In 1953, he was part of the Canadian Contingent to England for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II . In 1976, he was transferred to Headquarters in Ottawa as Deputy Commissioner of Administration in Ottawa. A year later he was he was appointed Commissioner of the RCMP.

Throughout his term in office, Simmonds guided the Force through a time of heavy media scrutiny because of the series of sensational criminal investigations the government were involved in at that time. He employed great discretion in speaking to the public and the media in order to avoid compromising the cases. In 1981 the McDonald Commission published its report with the recommendation that a civilian security intelligence agency be established separate from the RCMP. In 1984 the civilian Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) was established and the RCMP Security Service was formally disbanded.

While Commissioner, Simmonds was named Vice President of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), as well as of the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association. He was awarded the RCMP Long Service Medal in 1967, accompanied by the bronze Clasp in 1972. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and was knighted Commander of the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in 1978. He became an Honorary patron of the Parentsā Resource Institute for Drug Education (PRIDE), whose primary goal was the prevention and reduction of drug use among youth. In 1987 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

After retiring from the RCMP in 1987, Simmonds was involved with peace negotiations between warring tribes in South Africa and became the senior law enforcement officer of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control (UNFDAC) in Vienna.


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by Stephen Luscombe