Grandmother, 81, guards prisoners and keeps RCMP looking sharp

cbc.ca

For 25 years, Vicki Fleming has quietly gone about her job with the RCMP in central Manitoba, guarding prisoners or making alterations to the uniforms of Mounties.

At 81 years old, she's still doing it. But now, the RCMP are making some noise for her.

The detachment in Wabowden, where Fleming works, is turning the spotlight on her by telling about her efforts, honouring her with a luncheon and presenting her with a plaque.

"The RCMP relies heavily on the skill and dedication of employees such as Fleming," stated a news release from the RCMP.

As a matron in the detachment, Fleming is called in to guard prisoners. But she is also the local seamstress for the Mounties.

"You just watch a monitor and every so often you have to do a physical check through a window — make sure they're breathing and that they're safe and everything," she said.

"And then in between there I knit or crochet or whatever."

Once, while performing guard duties, she had to save a prisoner who was having an epileptic seizure. On the seamstress side of things, Fleming said she lets the waists out of officers' pants or takes them in, depending on how much exercise they get.

Her guarding career got started kind of quickly and unexpectedly.

"I filled out the forms that had to go to Ottawa on a Thursday and Friday night the corporal phoned me and says, 'we need a guard.' And I says, 'oh did the forms come back?' He says, 'forms be darned, I need  a guard,'" Fleming said.

"I had to search a woman and I'm trying to rack my brain, what did I see on TV? How do they search? And I winged it."

Wabowden is located approximately 650 kilometres north of Winnipeg.