"An Introduction..."
First Class
1834 First full-time High Constable
1859 First Board of Commissioners of Police, which assumed control of the city police from Municipal council. The Board included the Mayor, the Recorder or County Judge, and the Police Magistrate. New discipline and standards came to the service.
1837 First uniforms, which were forest green
1874 First use of communications technology, the telegraph, which linked four stations.
1876 First all-night patrols,extending police coverage around the clock.
1880 First police benefit fund.The first beneficiary, who resigned from the service due to ill health, received $29.64 a month for the rest of his life.
1884 First electric streetlights,welcomed by police walking the night beat - and cursed by would-be wrongdoers.
1886 First mounted unit, which patrolled outlying areas and controlled speeding horses.
1887 First call box.
1894 First bicycles for patrols, a first for any police service in North America.
1895 First police boat,to suppress illegal fishing, shooting and bathing.
1906 First use of fingerprinting.
1907 First parking ticket issued (there were only 1,500 cars in all of Ontario!).


Did you know...
The payscale in 1886 was: 3rd class const, $1.35 per day, 2nd class const. $1.60 per day, 1st class const. $1.90 per day, Det./Sgt., $2.55 per day, Inspector, $2.90 per day.

Well over one and a half centuries have passed since the muddy town of “York” was re-named “Toronto” in 1834. In that year Mayor William Lyon Mackenzie headed the city with a population of just 9,000 people. That same year, the Toronto Police Force had its humble beginnings when the first full-time High Constable was appointed to lead a handful of volunteers.

There were no permanent officers, Constables were simply hired as needed. It wasn’t until a year later that five paid Constables were hired. Back then, the focus of police activity was on the business district of Yonge street, from the lake-front all the way north to Dundas Street. One of the original police responsibilities? Catching Yonge Street shop-keepers who threw their garbage on the street!

As we begin the 21st Century, the Toronto Police Service employs over 5,000 officers and more than 2,000 civilian staff.

We are one of the largest municipal police services in North America, responsible for policing a vibrant city of almost 2.5 million, and receiving over 1.7 million calls for service a year.

Though the challenges of policing and the city have changed immeasurably, one thing has remained the same - the dedication with which our people serve the citizens of this city.

The confidence we have in the future of our Service is due in a large part to the pride we have in our past. On these pages, you’ll learn about the legacy of the Toronto police service.

We haven’t set out to document every aspect of our development in this pamplet. This is

more of an informal history, capturing, through words and pictures, just some of the events and milestones that have shaped us.

To the Dogs

“Man’s best friend” is also a crime-fighting ally. After years as a volunteer operation, the canine crew gained official recognition in 1989. Police dogs - which include German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Malinois -assist in searches for missing persons, suspects or evidence, and detect drugs and explosives. Like their human colleagues, police dogs undergo months of extensive training, to prepare for their duties.

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