Pubdate: Wed, 08 Oct 2014
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Kevin Bissett
Page: A14


The death of RCMP Corporal Ron Francis, who helped draw attention to
post-traumatic stress disorder among emergency first responders, is a
terrible loss that underscores the need to deal with the issue, the
RCMP's commanding officer in New Brunswick said Tuesday.

"It's unfortunate that this condition, if you will, took over and
consumed him, but he didn't let go," assistant commissioner Roger
Brown told a news conference at RCMP headquarters in Fredericton. "His
goal was to try to make some sense of it himself and to bring an
awareness to what this is all about."

Francis was found dead Monday afternoon at the Kingsclear First
Nation. It appears no one else was involved in his death but Brown
wouldn't provide any details about the circumstances of how Francis

Brown said the police force was doing all it could to get Francis the
support he needed, meeting with him as recently as Sunday.

"I know there will be much speculation about why this happened and
assumptions may be made," Brown said. "Unfortunately this is not the
outcome that I would've hoped for, that I would've

Francis, who served with the Mounties for 22 years, made national
headlines last year after he complained that he wasn't allowed to
smoke medicinal marijuana for PTSD while in uniform.

Last November, Francis returned his red serge uniform, saying he was
doing so on orders from his superiors, and accused the RCMP and the
federal government of not doing enough to support officers with PTSD.

At the time, the RCMP said its officers who are prescribed medicinal
marijuana should not be in red serge or regular uniform while taking
their medication as it wouldn't portray the right message to the public.

Brown said Tuesday the uniform still belonged to Francis. He said his
goal was to have Francis, who was on leave from the RCMP, return as a
contributing member of the force.

"This wasn't a pot-smoking issue. This wasn't a red serge issue,"
Brown said. "This was a cry for help and a need to raise the awareness
as to what PTSD really is within the organizations that we all work

Francis pleaded guilty last month to assaulting four fellow RCMP
officers and was to be sentenced next month.

Chief Gabriel Atwin of the Kingsclear First Nation made a

"Through pain we choose to celebrate his life and honour the character
of the man we knew."
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