Craig Gibson was the first Black commanding officer in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

This story is part of a series of Commissionaires Nova Scotia blog posts celebrating the achievements of Black Nova Scotians for African Heritage Month. 

Craig Gibson became the first Black commanding officer in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) when he took command of the force on Prince Edward Island in July 2012. 

His story began in the small, Black community of Gibson Woods, NS. One of nine children, Craig was raised mainly by his mother, Isabelle. His father, Charlie, was among the earliest Black train conductors and travelled for 2-3 days at a time. In spite of the challenges this posed, both his father and mother were important role models who taught their children the value of family and community.

Law enforcement was a family tradition. As a young child, Gibson grew up surrounded by family members who were in the field, and the only career paths he dreamed of were the RCMP or the NHL. Driven by a desire to give back to the community, he chose the RCMP, a decision he says he has never regretted.

Gibson joined the RCMP in 1980 and spent more than 30 years working across the country in five different provinces. He performed all kinds of policing and leadership duties.

Recognized for excellence and a commitment to helping small communities, Gibson officially assumed command of the RCMP on PEI in July 2012. He became the first Black Commanding Officer in the 92-year history of the RCMP. 

Chief Superintendent Gibson chose to leave his PEI Commanding post in 2015 to become the Director-General of Modernization, Recruiting and Human Resources at the RCMP headquarters in Ottawa.