Partners in
Crime...Prevention

In the early days of the city, police officers were seen as the people who laid down the law. The concept of a partnership between the police and the community, as we see it today, would have struck most people as odd. For example, in 1878, Police rules & regulations strictly controlled how the police would come in contact with the public: “Constables on day duty are to walk near the curbstone or outer edge of the sidewalk and are forbidden to gossip or idle with any persons, especially servants at houses on their beat”.

Today, the watchword of the service is cooperation, as seen through community policing. This isn't just a TPS initiative. Community policing is called for under the Police Services Act, and has been embraced throughout the policing world. It means that accountability

for community safety rests with both the police and the public. That, together, we address the root causes of issues that threaten safety. The police then forge problem - solving partnerships with neighbourhood and business groups, government agencies, our schools, social and health care organizations, and others.

Examples of community policing range from holding crime prevention meetings, to creating programs for at-risk youth, to Neighbourhood Watch, to Community Police Liaison Committees. The police don't work in isolation, forbidden to idle with members of the public. Instead, the community and police together hold the key to safety for all.

Getting Around

Until 1883, all patrols were done on foot. Officers had to walk offenders to the police station. In 1883, the police acquired a horse-drawn van, followed by a patrol wagon in 1889. In between, in 1886, came a Mounted Unit comprising "expert horsemen with cavalry experience”.

In 1894, Toronto became the first police service in North America to use bikes for patrols - and bikes are still one mode of transportation for us. Other firsts came fast and furious - motorcycles in 1911, motorized wagons and ambulances in 1913, cars for Detectives in 1917, and scout cars in 1922.

Until the early 1960s, scout cars came in various colours and were unmarked. That changed when they were all painted bright yellow. In 1969, the motto "To serve and protect" was added to police vehicles. The yellow cars were replaced in 1986 by white cars with red and blue accents.

Today, our service owns well over 1,000 vehicles, from cars and vans, to motorcycles and boats, as well as camper-like command posts. Amidst all this progress, there are still police horses, used for searches, traffic and crowd control, patrols, and ceremonies. And there is no way to replace the original method of transportation - walking the beat.

Did you know...

In the 1840 s and 1850 s, the most common offence was larceny, including cow stealing. And don t forget the charge of furious driving and racing a horse and carriage too fast. Early road rage?

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