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Calgary Police Service history

The Calgary Police Force was created in 1885. Former Winnipeg Chief Constable John (Jack) S. Ingram became the first police chief with a salary of sixty dollars a month. Some of his duties included enforcing the town’s bylaws, arresting all drunken and disorderly individuals, curbing speeding riders in the town, and attending all fires. He was also responsible for food and building inspections, and attending to the local animal pound.


1905 - the city had a population of 14,000, with only five police officers. At that time the city also instated its first civilian, and its first female employee, who acted as a Juvenile Matron. By 1910, the population neared 40,000, and the uniformed strength reached 36.

1906 - the Detective Department was created to combat prostitution and gambling.

1911 - the Mounted Unit is created using four horses.

1912 - in September, the first undercover operation cracks down on a doctor who is issuing cocaine prescriptions for money. In October, the first serious auto accident occurred when a vehicle hit a horse, injuring the animal and killing the occupants of the vehicle.

1913 - the Identification Bureau is established. All persons convicted of an indicted offence were photographed and fingerprinted.

1914 - Calgary Police Service Headquarters was built at 333 - 7th Avenue S.E. In the same year, call boxes were installed around the city. They allowed officers walking the beat to check in with headquarters every hour and were used until the 1970s. On average, an officer walked 2,656 miles a year, wearing out two pairs of boots.

1917 - Constable Arthur "Sandy" Duncan was the first Calgary police officer to be murdered. The Alberta Provincial Police were formed and officers were equipped with revolvers.

1921 - the force’s first Harley-Davidson motorcycle was purchased, and parking tickets were introduced.

1930s - communications improved with the installation of two-way radios in police cars.

1933 - a board of Police Commissioners was formed. It was comprised of Police Court Magistrate H.G. Scott, Judge E.P. McNeil, and Mayor Andrew Davision as chairman.

1935 - due to the depression, the city put the police force on part time. Every officer had instruction in the use of the revolver, which was the first time this was done since the early beginnings of the force when the policemen armed themselves with guns from a barrel of confiscated weapons and taught themselves how to shoot.

1937 - Traffic Education Unit is formed and the Crime Lab is established by the RCMP in Regina.

1938 - School Safety Patrol is created.

1941 - Traffic Office is established.

1943 - During the Second World War, Mrs. Vera Bell and Mrs. Mowat were hired as policewomen on a temporary basis. In 1946, Vera Russell became Calgary’s first full-time female police officer. Margaret Sadler and Olive Stanton quickly joined her.

1952 - the Juvenile Detail and Homicide Detail were formed.

1958 - first time moving pictures were used to record the movement of persons in a location which was being kept under surveillance.

1960 - Canine Unit is introduced with four dogs, two German Shepherds and two Doberman Pinschers. In May of the same year, the first emergency telephone number (1-1111) for fire, police and ambulance.

1963 - dermometer (eventually known as a polygraph) becomes available for use, but only in serious cases.

1968 - the Drug Squad was formed and the first undercover drug officer lived with hippies. Further technological advancement enabled officers to test alcohol consumption levels with the Breathalyzer.

1970 - 911 Emergency becomes operational in Calgary.

1972 - personal radios are given to all beat personnel and the call boxes throughout the downtown core are disconnected.

1973 - the force was renamed the Calgary Police Service in 1973, to reflect a more community-oriented focus. Additionally, the Crime Prevention and Arson Units are established.

1974 - School Resource Officer program is established in Lord Beaverbrook and St. Mary’s schools.

1975 - the title "policewoman" is discontinued while the province assumes responsibility for jail facilities, the first light bars are installed on police cars and the Service begins the computerization of case files.

1976 - the creation of the Strike Force, breathalyzers added to Check Stop and 200 bullet proof vests are purchased (500 uniformed officers on the street).

1978 - first appointment of a Minority Group Liaison and the creation of the Victim Services Unit.

1982 - Child Abuse Team, Crime Stoppers and the Citizen’s Complaint Review Committee are established.

1985 - a Police Service flag is adopted.

1987 - Multicultural Liaison Unit is formed.

1988 - purchase of a Multanova Radar Unit and the formation of the Centralized Intelligence Unit and Bicycle Detail. Non-emergency number 403-266-1234 is established.

1989 - officers are provided Kevlar vests.

1993 - O.C. spray replaces Carotid Restraints as a temporary reflexive inhibitor.

1995 - Calgary swears in its first female Police Chief, Christine Silverberg, and the first HAWCS helicopter is operational.

1997 - Photo radar is updated to include digital pictures to be sent to vehicle owners.

2000 - First police officer to wear a turban with the uniform. The turban is dark blue with the CPS logo in the center.

2001 - implementation of North America’s first portable red light camera system. The city installs the first eight of 24 fixed red light cameras to be located at high-collision intersections in Calgary by the end of 2003.

2005 - HAWC2 is added to the fleet.

2010 - The International Peace Operations Program (IPOP) is introduced and the first CPS member is deployed on a year-long mission in the Sudan.