Royal Canadian Mounted Police, constabulary organized (1873) as the Northwest Mounted Police to bring law and order to the Canadian west. In 1920 the name was changed to the present title. The corps, which gained a romantic reputation for daring exploits and persistence in trailing criminals, originally numbered 300 men; they came to be known as Red Coats, Riders of the Plains, and, most popularly, Mounties. The force later absorbed the provincial police forces of all the territories and provinces except Ontario and Quebec and enforces all federal and provincial laws except in those provinces. It also takes part in selected international peacekeeping activites. The force numbers about 16,000.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.