After graduating from depot (RCMP Academy) my troop was shipped off to work the ’76 Montreal Olympics. We were placed in highly visible places where the media would be filming during the Olympics. I guess the idea was to show the world how young and in shape the Mounties were. I was assigned to the swimming pool. The ’76 Olympics followed the tragedy during the Munich Olympics, hence security for Montreal was incredibly high. Fresh out of training with very little police experience, we were thrown into the limelight. We were told by the experienced officers — as we suspected — just stand there and look good for the cameras, we’ll do the real police work. We were given a rather thick book with the faces and particulars of all known terrorists throughout the world.
A number of us young energetic Mounties fresh out of training, including myself, were going to catch us a terrorist and get promoted real quick.
We found one, a Japanese fellow sitting about twenty rows up. It started off with three of us looking at this one picture, then grew to about seven officers examining our book. This went on for a couple of minutes until the next time we looked up he wasn’t there.
I’m convinced it was a tourist who just got nervous at the attention he was getting. The pool did not blow up while I was on guard.
And just in case he was a terrorist, we did our job even though we let him get away.
No fast and easy track promotion.
Marko Shehovac is Staff Sgt. for the Columbia Valley RCMP.