1885 - Chief John Ingram

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					YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre

Calgary’s Past Chiefs of Police

1885 - Chief John Ingram
On February 7, 1885, Jack Ingram became Calgary's first chief constable. He
was an experienced policeman, having previously served for one year as the first
police chief in Western Canada. The job had been in Winnipeg, but he was
dismissed after he was arrested by his own men in a local bawdy house.

When he took the job in Calgary, he was given two constables to assist him. His
police station was the back room of a billiard hall on Stephen Avenue and it was
seven months before the office even had a phone. The town boasted a
population of just over 500.

Calgary was still a frontier town with its share of ruffians, horse-thieves and
gamblers, but Chief Ingram kept them in line with his own two fists.

On February 28, 1888, Chief Ingram gave in to community pressure and
resigned. He was a cigar-smoking, hard-drinking, sometimes belligerent man
who had been shunned by the community's elite from the start and only tolerated
by town council. The community wanted a change.

1888 - Chief Matthew Dillabough
Matthew Dillabough took over the chief's desk on March 14, 1888. From the start,
his authority was limited. Mayor Shelton had made it clear that as the chairman
of the Police and Relief Committee, he was in charge. As a result, no raids were
conducted on gambling dens or bawdy houses for an entire year.

The population was approaching 4,000, and only one constable, Bob Barker,
grudgingly assisted the chief. Barker had also applied for the chief's position with
the support of many of the townspeople. Taking advantage of Dillabough's lack of
authority, Barker refused to take orders.

Despite internal problems, the need for law enforcement continued, especially in
1889, when Calgary faced its first murder. The owner of a local club, William
'Jumbo' Fisk, was tried for the murder of a native girl, found guilty and sentenced
to 14 years hard labour.

In 1890, the town council demoted the chief to the rank of constable and
expected him to work alongside Barker. The town fathers claimed it was a
money-saving measure. The men could not work together and by the end of the
year, an angry town council fired them both.
1891 - Chief Thomas English
On January 21, 1891, the town hired Tom English as chief. Somewhat unkempt
and uncouth, he was a big, warm-hearted man with a walrus moustache who
patrolled the streets with no more than a billy club and his fog horn voice.

It was also the year of Calgary's first major shop break-in. The two culprits
received 10 years of hard labour for their crime. At the same time, gambling and
prostitution were on the rise.

By 1909, the chief was policing a community of 30,000, with only 36 constables
to help him. Traffic was a serious problem. Horses, bicycles and automobiles
vied for the right of way. Constables armed with stop-watches and two wheelers
made a valiant effort to apprehend speeders. On July 16, 1909, Chief English

1909 - Chief Thomas Mackie
Tom Mackie moved up the ranks to the top job in July 1909. With the population
growing quickly, Chief Mackie, a quiet man of medium stature, had to run a force
that was short of men and money. At the same time, the politicians were calling
for changes. They wanted the force brought up to date.

During his relatively short term, the chief had made several positive changes
within the force. Because the city had grown significantly, it had become
increasingly difficult to police the outlying areas. The chief made several
suggestions to improve his force, but many went unheeded. He did, however,
convince City Hall of his need for:
• more men,
• horses and equipment for a mounted unit,
• a detective department to fight prostitution and gambling,
• four substations, and
• a motorized paddy wagon.

In 1911, headquarters was moved to the newly constructed sandstone city hall.
Also that year, police raided a brothel and found the mayor and two
commissioners on the premises. They claimed they were there to inspect the
building. Not long after that incident, on July 15, 1911, Chief Mackie submitted
his resignation with significant notice. February 29, 1912, was Chief Mackie's last

1912 - Chief Alfred Cuddy
On March 15, 1912, Toronto Police veteran Alfred Cuddy was made chief and
the civic administration fully supported his efforts to upgrade and strengthen the
force. The men received new uniforms and a hefty raise in pay, and work began
on the first of four substation buildings.

Later that year, on October 19, 1912, Calgary had its first serious auto accident.
An automobile hit a horse and the two occupants of the car were killed. Traffic
problems were increasing.
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In September 1914, a new headquarters opened at 333 7th Avenue S.E. It
included an identification bureau and a signal room that connected to 67 street
call boxes. The new technology meant that constables on the beat could talk with
dispatchers at headquarters. The boxes, which contained an early version of a
telephone, had been installed throughout the city. A bell and a light were
attached to each box. By day, the bell would ring to alert the officer to a call, and
at night a green light mounted on the top of a steel post would flash. The call
boxes would prove invaluable during the war years.

1914 was the year that the First World War broke out in Europe and the force
shrunk to one-third of its size as police officers left to serve their country.
Conveniently, crime, drunkenness, vagrancy and gambling dropped off, making it
possible for Chief Cuddy to maintain order in the city.

In 1916, the department purchased its first car, which was used primarily by the
chief, and around that same time, Chief Cuddy mounted the department's first
undercover operation targetting local doctors who were issuing cocaine
prescriptions for a price.

On July 31, 1919, Chief Cuddy resigned. He left to help organize the newly
formed Alberta Provincial Police.

1919 - Chief David Ritchie
It was September 15, 1919, when David Ritchie took over as Calgary's chief of
police. He had returned from the war a captain decorated with the Military Cross
for Bravery. The recognition, plus 20 years experience with the police, made him
perfect for the chief's job. He carried out his position with military authority. From
the start of his term, Chief Ritchie's most pressing problem was traffic.

In 1921 he introduced the parking ticket and purchased the department's first
motorcycle. In 1929, he acquired the department's first patrol car.

Throughout his term, Chief Ritchie strived for traffic safety on Calgary streets. He
lobbied for driver's licences and recognized the need for crosswalks and traffic
signs. He instituted free vehicle safety tests and the School Safety Patrol.

In 1930, Calgary's population stabilized at 81,000 and uniformed strength on the
force was 87. By 1940, the number of officers increased to 99. The population
had jumped another 6,000.

On June 1, 1941, Chief Ritchie died while undergoing a gall bladder operation.
He had served with the Calgary force for 22 years and in that time was one of the
most respected police chiefs in Canada. Within the department, he has been
called the father of the modern force.

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1941 - Chief Samual Patterson
On June 10, 1941, Sam Patterson became chief. He had been Chief Ritchie's
right hand man for several years.

The Second World War was raging in Europe, and Calgary was overflowing with
troops being trained for combat. Crime was rising and the police ranks were
shrinking again as men left to join the armed forces. Fortunately, Chief Patterson
had four squad cars, all equipped with two-way radios and 250 auxiliary police
who voluntarily patrolled the streets.

In 1943, Chief Patterson hired two women on a temporary part-time basis. While
previous chiefs would not even consider employing women officers, Chief
Patterson acknowledged the changing times and saw logic in having female
officers deal with female offenders. Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Mowat worked Monday to
Saturday from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. checking dance halls and ladies of the night. After
the war, Chief Patterson hired three unmarried ex-army women to fill three
permanent positions.

Crime was not only on the rise, it was also changing. Crimes were becoming
increasingly violent and the offenders were getting younger. Juvenile delinquents
were a concern.

In 1947 a traffic detail formed and parking meters were established. By 1950,
580 meters lined city streets.

On June 27, 1950, Chief Patterson resigned, leaving behind one of the best
trained forces in the country. He had made it mandatory for police officers to
have a driver's licence and had implemented formal recruit training and refresher

1950 - Chief Malcolm Boyd
On June 27, 1950, Malcolm Boyd, known throughout the community as an
excellent detective, took over the chief's office.

With only three months until his own retirement, Chief Boyd had no time to make
changes. He had been on the force for almost three decades and felt confident
the department was well-organized and equipped. He retired on September 29,

1950 - Chief Reginald Clements
On September 29, 1950 Reg Clements took the helm, with his own retirement
date less than a year away.

Calgary was booming following the discovery of oil in Leduc. Everyone was
driving and traffic was a major concern. Looking for ways to make the streets
safer, the traffic squads began analysing detailed statistics regarding the number
and cause of collisions.

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The force now owned 19 vehicles, 17 with radios. Another 20 positions were
added to the force to bring it to optimum strength - 164 sworn and 20 civilian
members. The population was 126,000.

On September 17, 1951, Chief Clements retired.

1951 - Chief James McDonald
On September 17, 1951, Jimmy McDonald became chief and just like the two
chiefs before him, retirement was not far off. At the time, officers were working a
40-hour week and the Police Protective Association was bargaining for overtime
pay. Violent crimes were on the rise, especially violence against women.

In 1951, McDonald created the first juvenile detail to handle the increasing
number of youth involved in crime. Four men were assigned to patrol areas
where kids hung out and investigate juvenile crime. During his term, a
sophisticated safe-breaking ring was at work and believed responsible for several
major robberies. The criminals turned out to be five youths, aged 13 to 16.

On May 29, 1952 Chief McDonald retired.

1952 - Chief Lawrence Partridge
It was May 6, 1952, when Larry Partridge became chief. His appointment
signalled a change in city tradition. No longer was the most senior officer
automatically promoted to the top job. Chief Partridge had been a senior
inspector in charge of the detective office. He was only 48 when he took
command. Almost immediately, Chief Partridge reorganized the force into three
divisions - patrol, traffic and detective. Later he would add a services division.

In 1953, the chief created a homicide squad to overcome what he called a "pretty
poor batting average when it came to murders." He believed the solution was to
form a squad of specially-trained men. He was right. Twelve years and two
dozen murders later, the detectives had a perfect clearance record.

There were several notable changes and technological advances during Chief
Partridge's term including:
• in 1956, an IBM punch card computer was installed to create a file of all
   active criminals in Canada,
• in 1960, the canine squad was established,
• in 1961, a search and rescue squad was established,
• in 1961, a new headquarters opened at 316 - 7th Avenue S.E., well-equipped
   with modern radio, dispatch, and telephone reporting equipment,
• in 1963, walkie talkies were introduced, as was the dermometer, an early
   version of the polygraph, which would become commonly known as the lie

On August 15, 1964, Chief Partridge retired. When he left, the newspapers wrote
glowing reports of the tall English chief, describing him as having an exceptional
combination of intelligence, industriousness and personal integrity.
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1964 - Chief Kenneth McIver
As of July 1, 1964, the chief's chair belonged to Ken McIver. A deputy chief for
nine years, he had helped with many initiatives during Chief Partridge's term.

The population had grown to 323,289 and the force consisted of 426 sworn
officers, 58 civilians, eight dogs and a fleet of 80 vehicles. The crime rate was
rising quickly, and Chief McIver - a deeply religious man, who never drank,
smoked or swore - blamed it on a permissive society.

During his term, Chief McIver introduced:
• the polygraph (lie detector),
• the telex,
• the breathalyzer, and
• the first Police Expo in 1968.

On March 6, 1968, Chief McIver resigned.

1968 - Chief Malcolm Kent
It was February 1, 1968, when Malcolm 'Duke' Kent became Chief of Police. His
appointment was widely endorsed by the force, the public and the media. A
native Calgarian, he had been a Calgary policeman since 1937, and had been
one of the first two detectives assigned to the homicide squad in 1952.

To increase efficiency and loyalty to the force, Chief Kent implemented the
platoon system, dividing the men into four shifts - morning, afternoon, night and

Believing his officers needed better education to cope with the changing times,
Chief Kent instituted the police science course at Mount Royal College and gave
officers time off to attend classes. He also upgraded in-service training.

By 1968, drugs were a huge problem in the city. Chief Kent retaliated by forming
the drug squad and made public education part of its job. Squad members
regularly visited schools to dispense information about drugs, but despite their
efforts, drug traffic increased.

In 1970, disagreements about a rock festival resulted in a breakdown of relations
between police and city hall. Whereas the mayor was in favour of the festival, the
police chief was not, resulting in several clashes between them. After the
concert, the mayor called for an inquiry into the matter. The judge ruled in favour
of the police. The judge said the mayor had abused his power as chief
commissioner. As a result amendments were made to the Police Act and the
mayor no longer sits on the Police Commission.

On August 1, 1972, Chief Kent retired, four months before his official retirement

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1972 - Charles Gain
The Police Commission had planned on Charles Gain becoming the city's next
chief, but their choice proved far from popular. The announcement that an
American was to be Calgary's chief of police met with mass protest. Calgarians
were outraged. Other Canadians joined the outcry and the Calgary Police
Association expressed its concerns. A legal challenge was even launched by a
citizen, delaying the oath of office.

Gain had come to Calgary on August 1, but in light of the protest, submitted his
resignation on August 9, 1972, never having been sworn in as chief.

1972 - Chief George Kemp
In August 1972, George Kemp took over as chief. It was an interim appointment
with the understanding that he would hold down the fort until a new chief could
be chosen.

The Police Commission resumed its search for a new police chief who would
focus on crime prevention and community involvement.

Chief Kemp retired on January 7, 1973.

1973 - Chief Brian Sawyer
On January 8, 1973, Brian Sawyer was sworn in as chief. He had been a
superintendent with the RCMP in Victoria and came to Calgary to lead a force of
793 officers in a community of 400,000.

In his first year, Chief Sawyer introduced zone policing, an approach previously
untried in North America. The city was divided into four districts containing 28
zones, with an inspector and a staff sergeant in charge of each district and a
patrol sergeant in charge of each zone. In this new system, he believed
communities would come to know and trust the officers assigned to their area.

During his term, Chief Sawyer implemented many changes, programs,
techniques and policies, including:
• renaming the police force the Calgary Police Service, heralding a new
   approach to law enforcement,
• distinctly marking cars 'police,'
• forming several community-based crime prevention programs, many of which
   still exist today, such as Blockwatch, Crime Stoppers and school resource
• establishing a career development program for middle management,
• developing critical situation and control techniques for use in volatile
• drafting policies for hostage negotiation, high-speed chases, citizen
   complaints and officers' safety,
• establishing procedures for internal audits.
• Sawyer also developed several special squads such as:
• the tactical team,
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•   the arson squad,
•   the sex crimes squad, and
•   the child abuse squad.

On August 31, 1984, Chief Sawyer retired and went on to become the Provincial
Ombudsman. He left a community that had grown to 625,000 and a force that
had expanded to 1,191 officers.

1984 - Chief Ernest Reimer
On September 1, 1984, Ernie Reimer took over as chief. He had 30 years of
police experience behind him and like Chief Sawyer, was a strong believer in
community-based policing.

More changes were in store for the Service under Chief Reimer: He streamlined
the department into two bureaus and four divisions and paid special attention to
the new information division. New computers made information more accessible
to officers, and the Automated Finger Print Identification System (AFIS) made
criminal identification more efficient. The Calgary Police Service was the first
police agency in Canada to use this fingerprint system and in future years,
Calgary would become the hub for a Western Canadian network of AFIS

The Service acquired the Andrew Davison Building at 133 6th Avenue S.E., now
police headquarters.

As 1988 approached, Chief Reimer's time was largely devoted to planning for the
upcoming Winter Olympic Games. The Olympic Volunteer Security Program was
initiated and later used as a model for other international events worldwide.

In 1989, the Volunteer Resources Unit was formed and many citizens who had
volunteered to assist the police during the Games stayed on to volunteer in other

On January 31, 1989, Chief Reimer retired and went on to become chief of police
in Regina, Saskatchewan.

1989 - Chief Gerry Borbridge
On February 1, 1989, Gerry Borbridge became Calgary's 16th chief of police. He
had worked his way up the ranks and took the job with the mandate to enhance
community policing in Calgary. His efforts led to the development of problem-
solving policing - seeking solutions to underlying causes of crime.

A number of measures introduced under Chief Borbridge significantly increased
the efficiency of the Service and the safety of its officers, including:
• the formation of the air services unit,
• equipping all police vehicles with cell phones,
• initiating differential response, allowing district offices to accept reports for
   minor accidents and less serious crimes,
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•   replacing the Wesson Model D revolver with the Glock model 22, a .40 calibre
    semi-automatic pistol,
•   equipping officers with OC (oleoresin capsicum) spray, also known as pepper
    spray, a safe and effective way to subdue individuals,
•   establishing community-operated police stations and satellite offices.

In 1993, provincial funding was drastically reduced and Chief Borbridge faced the
challenge of streamlining the Service to reduce operating costs by $6.6 million
over a three-year period.

On June 30, 1995, Chief Borbridge retired.

1995 - Chief Roger Bechthold
On July 1, 1995, Roger Bechthold was appointed interim chief. He had previously
been deputy chief of centralized operations.

During his term, he spearheaded or was involved in a number of initiatives,
• restructuring the criminal investigation division,
• forming a priority crimes unit, which specialized in investigative techniques
    such as surveillance and undercover operations,
• redesigning the Calgary criminal intelligence unit,
• creating the position of senior liaison officer, who handles issues pertaining to
    senior citizens,
• the development of the first three-year plan for the police budget process.

On October 9, 1995, Chief Bechthold's term ended.

1995 - Chief Christine Silverberg
On October 10, 1995 Christine Silverberg broke new ground as the first woman
to be sworn in as chief of police in Calgary. Originally from Ontario, Chief
Silverberg won great respect from the citizens of Calgary through her tireless
efforts to take an active role in the community. She was also well-respected by
the officers under her command due to her unending dedication as chief.
Chief Silverberg received numerous awards during her term and was widely
profiled by journalists throughout the country. The respect she earned from
Calgary's diverse communities was highlighted when she was ceremoniously
honoured with the aboriginal name "Bluebird Lady" by the Peigan Nation in 1998,
an honour which would remain one of most cherished memories of her term as

As Chief, she was instrumental in establishing a number of initiatives, including:
• new programs to address public safety concerns such as stalking, high-risk
   and dangerous offenders, and witness issues
• a long-term plan on prostitution,
• programs directed to early intervention with Calgary's youth,
• widespread recognition for the Child At Risk Response Team,

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•   added two new policing districts (Temple and Silver Springs) to the Calgary
    Police Service map to meet the needs of Calgary's growing population,
•   increased diversity within the Service as a result of changes to the recruit
    selection process, and
•   furthered the Service's community policing initiatives

Perhaps her most publicized accomplishment was spearheading a plan of action
to deter the massive protests that were widely anticipated for the 2000 World
Petroleum Congress. The plan included intelligence gathering among organized
protest groups and rallying law enforcement resources from across the province.
Following the successful conclusion of the congress, this plan was largely
credited with deterring the protest violence seen in other international trade
conferences during that year such as the World Trade Organization in Seattle,
Washington. Chief Silverberg retired on October 10, 2000.

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