1909 First powers to regulate street traffic, parades and processions.
1911 First police motorcycles, to enforce the 15mph speed limit.
1913 First policewomen join the service.
1922 First patrol cars.
1923 First bulletproof vest were issued in 1923 to Detectives.
1925 First electric traffic control signal installed downtown, at Yonge and Bloor.
1935 First in-car radios (one-way only, from dispatcher to car).
1939 First visits to schools to deliver traffic safety information, a precursor of today s presenta-tions on everything from drugs to streetproofing.
1952 First use of a helicopter by police, to search for the notorious Boyd Gang of bank robbers.
1953 First radar system for traffic enforcement.
1957 First civilian governance, with the formation of the Metropolitan Toronto Board of Commissioners of Police, chaired by Judge Charles O. Bick.
1968 First in-house computer is installed for processing law enforcement data.
1973 First link with the Canadian Police Information Centre in Ottawa, making Toronto the first city police service to con-nect to this database of wanted people and vehicles.
1977 First R.I.D. E. program (for Reduce Impaired Driving in Etobicoke, where it began).
1982 First use of the 9-1-1 emergency system.
1982 First civilian chief Administrative Officer, with a rank comparable to Deputy Chief.
Equal Partners

She had to be 25-30 and well educated. She had to live near No. 1 Station, to respond promptly to calls. She searched women who had been arrested, and attended to them while they awaited court appear-ances. She was the Police Matron, and the first was a Mrs. Whiddon in 1887.

That began a rich history of women in the police service, though it was not until 1913 that Mary Minty and Maria Levitt became Toronto's first policewomen. Along with deal-ing with female prisoners, they supervised dance halls (“where their visitations have a good moral effect”), and handled the regulation of fortune tellers.

Still, this was progress. After the original policewomen retired in 1919, three more were hired. In 1921, another two were appointed. They were assigned more and more responsibilities gradually. By 1933, policewomen were an integral part of the Morality Bureau, participating in under-cover investigations.

When the Women's Bureau and the Youth Bureau were estab-lished in 1958, they were staffed almost entirely by

female officers, and were instrumental in allowing women to gain experience and demonstrate their competence.

The fight for quality in the service has been steady, if slow. In 1945, the pay scale finally became the same for women as it was for men. In that year women adopted the proper blue uniforms and the range of duties became more far-reaching. Women didn't ride in scout cars until 1959. In 1960, policewomen changed their hats to the derby style, after being mistaken for stew-ardesses and transit guides. Until 1972, a policewoman who had a baby had to resign. It was only in 1974 that police-women were even armed for the first time - carrying their revolvers in specially designed handbags.

Today, women serve in every facet of policing, and in the most senior positions. From the days when a handful of officers made up the female contingent, there are now over 600 female officers, over 12% of the total. Women also com-prise more than half of civilian staff. It has been a long, inter-esting and rewarding ride since the days of Mrs.Whiddon.

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