Building bridges between law enforcement and the Black community

June 14, 2019


Constable Fredrick Mubiru

Constable Fredrick Mubiru’s first encounter with the Mounties was on July 1, 2007. He had just arrived in Ottawa from Uganda as a refugee, and celebrated Canada Day on Parliament Hill. Seeing the RCMP in their Red Serge uniforms rekindled his dream to be a police officer.

“Someone said we could go take pictures with the officers. For me that was a big surprise, because in some parts of Africa, you can’t really interact with the police like that. From that moment, I thought, ‘I really want to be a part of these guys!’” says Constable Mubiru.

As soon as he became a Canadian citizen, he applied to the RCMP and was accepted to train at their academy in Regina, Saskatchewan. He graduated at the top of his class and became the first Ugandan-Canadian Mountie.

After graduation, Constable Mubiru was posted to the small coastal town of Digby, Nova Scotia, where he quickly became an asset to the RCMP by building relationships with youth and the Black community.

For example, in the case of a missing child, a mother was reluctant at first to involve the police because she didn’t trust them. When she finally made the report, Constable Mubiru happened to be the officer to take the call. He put her at ease, gained her trust, and they found the child.

“He’s a good ambassador for the RCMP”, says Staff Sergeant Dave Chubbs, Digby RCMP Detachment Commander. “He uses his past experiences to create relationships between the community and the police. That is a vital thing for us”.

On top of his police work, Constable Mubiru loves being a part of community events: “I do a lot of ceremonies, for Remembrance Day, for Canada Day, for our high school graduations. I love to represent the RCMP, because the Red Serge is very iconic for me, it means a lot”.

When Kerry Johnson, President of the Jordantown-Acaciaville-Conway Betterment Association, was looking to work with an officer on their new community centre, the RCMP suggested Constable Mubiru.

For Johnson, it was the perfect choice. “You don’t feel threatened, even though he’s in uniform. He’s very friendly and approachable”.

Johnson wanted kids to get to know officers outside their traditional police role. “Usually when our community gets involved with the RCMP, it’s on the policing side. We’re working on changing that though, and Fredrick is instrumental in crossing that bridge”, says Johnson.

Constable Mubiru’s work with youth started back in Ottawa. While waiting for his Canadian citizenship, he volunteered at his local church, River Jordan Ministries, where he mentored at-risk youth. He still continues that mentorship today.

Pastor Joseph Kiirya leads the mentorship program and speaks of how Constable Mubiru encourages young men to stay clear of crime. “He gives information and one-on-one counselling to many young people in our community. He’s a very useful ambassador for the RCMP within the African community”.

Immigration profile: Digby, Nova Scotia

Quick facts:

  • The United States is the biggest source country of immigrants to Digby, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany.
  • Between 1980 and 2016, 54% of immigrants who came to Digby were economic immigrants and 43% were sponsored by family.
  • Immigrants in Digby make up about 4% of the population. Read more about what immigration does for our country.

Did you know?

  • Digby was settled by British loyalists from New York and the New England states in 1783, the last year of the American Revolution.

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