The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has had a varied history beginning in 1873. They are a very important part of Canada's past and have helped shape our police force that we have today. It all began on May 23, 1873 when Dominion Parliament thought a police force was necessary for the North-West Territories. Their objectives were:
- To stop liquor traffic among Indians.
- Gain respect and confidence.
- Break old practices by tact and patience.
- Collect customs dues.
- Perform all duties of a police force
Although they were formed in 1873 there wasn't a need for a police force until 1895.
The Klondike Gold Rush had begun to interest many from around the world and the NWMP were ready for it. Charles Constantine and his men began to build the first Mounted Police post in the Yukon, which was called Fort Constantine. At the beginning there were only 19 officers and men of the NWMP. They arrived just in time for the Gold Rush and helped to control the crimes and keep justice alive. However, soon after they arrived they found that they couldn't handle the rush, so they created 31 detachments that spread out over the Yukon. One of the most important detachments was situated at the summits of both White and Chilkoot passes. They collected customs duty for supplies brought into the Yukon by gold seekers.
Between 1898 and 1900 the Canadian government sent a two-hundred man force to assist the NWMP to guard prisoners, banks and gold shipments. The NWMP became the symbol of personal security and justice in the Yukon. Samuel Benfield Steele who was the superintendent of the NWMP said: "The whole demeanor of the people changed the moment they crossed the summit. The pistol was packed in the valise and not used. The desperado, if there, had changed his ways, no one feared him." They were a well respected organization who made the Klondike Gold Rush a safe and just place for people to mine for gold. The NWMP's efforts were recognized by King Edward VII who renamed them the Royal North-West Mounted Police in 1904. It wasn't until 1920 that they changed their name to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police gaining the respect and recognition they deserve from Canadians.