Norman David Inkster

September 1, 1987 - June 24, 1994 Inkster was born on August 19, 1938 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1957, beginning his career in Regina but later moving throughout Canada. While in the Maritimes, Inkster was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Honours Sociology from the University of New Brunswick. He received the Sandra Budovitch Memorial prize for the highest standing in his class. Following his graduation, Inkster moved back to Ottawa.

In 1974, Inkster was appointed Inspector of the RCMP. He completed a two-year, full-time intensive French training course before taking command of the Montreal Subdivision in 1978. One year later he was appointed Executive Officer to the Commissioner, and in 1980 was promoted to the Officer in Charge of the Staffing and Personnel Branch in Ottawa as well as Superintendent. In 1982, Inkster was appointed Commanding Officer of the RCMP 'A' Division for north-eastern Ontario. Two years later, Inkster was made Assistant Commissioner and Director of Personnel, and was promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Criminal Operations the year after. Finally, on September 1, 1987, Inkster was appointed Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Commissioner Inkster faced the unionization debate, established an external review committee to address public complaints, improved media relations, expanded international police duties with peacekeeping and adopted community policing as a service delivery model. He is perhaps best known for wanting to 'change the face' of the Force by campaigning to make the RCMP a career option for all Canadians no matter their race, gender or ethnic background, helping to establish advisory committees for local communities, and allowing members of the Force to be exempted from wearing any item of the uniform on the basis of their religious beliefs (eg. turbans for Sikh members). On June 2, 1991 Inkster was presented with a Corps Ensign by the Governor General. This was the first ensign granted to the Force.

Inkster was elected President of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) in 1992, was a member of the Canadian and International Associations of Chiefs of Police, and was a member of the Senior Executive committee responsible for General Enforcement, Drug Enforcement, Economic Crime Enforcement, Foreign Services and Criminal Intelligence Service.

Inkster was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal, the RCMP Long Service Medal, and was made a member of the Order of St. John and the Order of Canada. He retired on June 24, 1994.

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by Stephen Luscombe