Brief History of the Service
- August 1845
- St. Catharines becomes a town and passes Bylaw 15, which provides
"pound-keepers and constables." These were individuals who made themselves
available when the town required. The bylaw provided a fee structure for baliffs and
police officers of that time:
- Issuing a summons was worth five shillings
- Five shillings could also be made by making an arrest under a warrant
- If a citizen assisted in an arrest, they would earn five shillings
- Escorting a prisoner to jail was worth 15 shillings
- This new "police force" -- largely made up of citizen
volunteers -- was administered by a police board made up of five members, who also served
as the St. Catharines town council. The police board's membership consisted of Henry
Mittleberger, James Benson, E.E. Stephenson, George Rykert, and A.S. St. John.
- The Legislature of Upper Canada passes regulations dealing with the
conduct of policing. Mayors and the councils of townships and cities become
responsible for law enforcement.
- The decisions of the Legislature of Upper Canada sparks local
changes in policing. Adam Montgomery becomes the first Chief Constable of St.
Adam Montgomery in his late years.
This picture provided to the former St. Catharines Police by Mrs. George Montgomery.
- St. Catharines has its first full-time police officers.
constables are hired -- one for each ward of the town. J. Devlin, S. Smith, and J.
Graham are paid the equivalent of a dollar a day for their police duties, which included
nightly patrols of their ward.
- Chief John Cummings -- a professional law enforcement officer who
worked in England and Scotland before coming to Canada -- replaces Adam Montgomery as
- St. Catharines becomes a city. Its police force consists of a
Chief, two Sergeants, and 10 Constables. They are under the control of a three
member commission, consisting of Major Calvin Brown, Judge John
Lawder, and Magistrate
- A new Chief, Edward Parnell, begins downsizing the police force.
Because the economy has hit a slump, the department slowly begins cutting back on
the number of officers. By 1892, the police have a annual budget of $5661.68, and
have minimized manpower ... it consists of the Chief and five Constables.
- Harry Greene takes over as Chief when Edward Parnell retires, and
begins hiring constables. It grows to a force of nine men.
Also in this year,
the St. Catharines Police are issued guns for the first time.
- The St. Catharines Police are issued their first patrol vehicles ...
- Niagara Falls forms an organized police force, which has its own
- The St. Catharines Police are issued their first patrol cars
- St. Catharines moves its police department into the new city hall.
Up until this point, the police and city's offices had done its work out of a
- St. Catharines Police move out of city hall, and into their
headquarters on Church Street in St. Catharines.
- September 13, 1964 - Dorothy Hart
becomes the first police woman in the Niagara Region, when she
begins her policing career with the Grimsby Police Service.
Dorothy would eventually retire from the Niagara Regional Police
Service in April, 1995.
- In January of 1970, the Niagara
Regional Board of Commissioners of Police is officially established
to initiate the changeover of municipal police forces into a
regional police force. The Commissioners select three officers from
the twelve area police forces to help them organize the new Regional
Force. Chosen were St. Catharines Deputy Chief James Gayder, Niagara
Falls Deputy Chief Donald Harris, and Welland Deputy Chief Martin
"Bud" Walsh. Working with the new Commission, these
Officers set up the Force structure, including the Divisions and
Detachments and their boundaries, as well as such important
facilities as Communications.
Niagara Regional Police Voice Radio System
Then Cst. Rick Storm answers
calls in the
- The regional government of Niagara is
formed. All former municipal police forces within the new
Regional Municipality of Niagara are incorporated into the Niagara
Regional Police Force. This name is later changed to
the "Niagara Regional Police Service." The headquarters of the Regional Police is the building that served as the St. Catharines
Police Force's headquarters. The joining of the various police forces makes the
Niagara Regional Police Service one of the ten largest police service's in Ontario.
At this time, it consisted of 398 Officers and 42 civilian
Officers undergo winter driver training in one of the early
Niagara Regional Police Force patrol cars
- January 1st, 1971 – May 31st,
- Albert E. Shennan serves as the
first Police Chief of the Niagara Regional Police Service
- Welland Division moves into a newly
- Niagara Falls Division moves into a
May 31st, 1977 – December 31st, 1983
- Donald Harris serves as the
second Police Chief of the Niagara Regional Police Service
- On October 1st, 1977, the Niagara
Regional Police Force (as it was then called) takes over policing of
the entire Niagara Region. Before this, a number of municipalities
that were not protected by the NRPS received police protection from
the Ontario Provincial Police
Then Cst. Carl Scott walks the beat
- Grimsby Detachment moves into a new facility.
- Fort Erie Detachment moves into its new facility. This year also
marks the inception of the Polygraph Unit. The unit is established
when the first constable with the Niagara Regional Police Service
attends the Canadian Police College’s Polygraph School, and is
certified as a forensic polygraphist.
- Ground is broken to begin an addition to St. Catharines
- January 1st, 1984 – March 4th, 1987
A. Gayder serves as the third Police Chief of the Niagara Regional
- Planning Research Unit is established.
- Port Colborne Detachment moves into a new facility. In
November of 1986, the Sexual Assault Unit is implemented. This unit is
responsible for investigating sexual assault cases anywhere within the
August 31st, 1987 – March 1st, 1993
E. Shoveller serves as the fourth Police Chief of the Niagara Regional
- January 1st, 1988 is the inception date of O.R.A.C.L.E.
("On-Line Records Access Computer for Law Enforcement"). This
computerization of various operational and administrative files provides
for more accurate and timely information.
- On April 27th, 1989, the Regional Municipality of
Niagara’s 911 Emergency Telephone service commences operation.
This system has been enhanced to provide the features known as A.N.I.
(Automatic Number Identification) and A.L.I. (Automatic Location
Identification). It is designated as E.9.1.1. Also, in
December of this year, 100 Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) System
Units using Kustom Terminals and Midland radios are installed in
patrol unit cars. Officers who are dispatched to answer calls for
service receive information about the location to which they are
responding before they arrive there. Officers also have the
capability to query local, Provincial and Federal databases. The MDT
system provides the Service with a secure, accurate and speedy means
of communication that had not been available with the voice radio
system. The MDT provides a technological advantage to the Patrol
Officer. These terminals when on-line February, 1991.
- The Niagara Regional Police Service becomes involved with
the Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS). This is a national
database for tracking violent offenders and the offenses they commit.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in co-operation with other
Police Services developed this system.
- In February, 1992, the Child Abuse Unit is implemented. It is
responsible for investigating all incidents of child sexual abuse or
child physical abuse occurring in the Niagara Region.
- March 1st, 1993 - 2000
- J. Grant Waddell serves as the
fifth Police Chief of the Niagara Regional Police Service.
- The Major Crime Unit is established. Its mandate is to
investigate such serious offences as serial auto theft, robberies of
financial institutions, complex fraud cases, and murders. Due to the
inception of other specialized units, the Major Crime Unit is now tasked
with solely being responsible for the investigation of murders and
- Welland Division’s building officially opens. Also this
year, on November 22, 1994, the Niagara Regional Police Service sets
up its Internet site. The NRPS Web site (www.nrps.com) goes live on
February 2, 1995. This makes the Niagara Regional Police Service the
first police service in Canada on the World Wide Web.
ViCLAS (Violent Crimes Linkage Analysis System) becomes part of the Ontario Provincial Police’s
Behavioral Science Section, and the Niagara Regional Police Service
begins submitting information to them on a voluntary basis.
- Due to casino gambling being introduced to the
Niagara Falls area, the Casino Patrol Unit is formed in December of 1996. It is responsible
for policing the hub of the city's tourist district, where the casino
and numerous other attractions are located.
The Niagara Regional Police Service receives a new crest as part
Anniversary celebrations. For more information about the
crest (shown below), visit our Web page explaining The
Meaning of Our Crest.
The Official Crest of the
Niagara Regional Police Service
To learn more about the crest, click HERE.
- On April 7, 1997, the Niagara Regional Police Service’s ViCLAS
Unit becomes operational. This unit works with RCMP’s ViCLAS as
part of an automated case linkage system designed to capture,
collate and compare crimes of violence through the analysis of
victimology, offender/suspect description, modus operandi, forensic
and behavioral data.
August 11, 2000 - January 1, 2005
- Gary E. Nicholls serves as the sixth Police Chief
of the Niagara Regional Police Service.
- A new police facility at 2 Cushman Road in St. Catharines
opens. The building houses numerous emergency service units,
including Traffic Services.
January 1, 2005
- Wendy E. Southall serves as the seventh Police Chief
of the Niagara Regional Police Service.
- December 4, 2005
- The Niagara Regional Police Service implements a new Computer
Aided Dispatch (CAD) system to replace their existing one, which had
been in use since 1988.
The administrative boundaries made up of divisions are also changed
during this period to districts. 11 Division (St. Catharines)
becomes 1 District, 22 Division (Niagara Falls) becomes 2 District,
33 Division (Welland) becomes 3 District, 23 Division (Fort Erie)
becomes 5 District, 32 Division (Port Colborne) become 6 District,
and 14 Division (Grimsby) becomes 8 District.
- In September, Grimsby District #8 officially opens. In
December, CopLogic is introduced, allowing the public to file
reports for specific "non-emergency" incidents online.