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Our History

Our History

Our History

In celebration of our Service's 125th Anniversary in 2002, Heather Ibbotson, a reporter with The Brantford Expositor, wrote



Image: Book: Peacemakers & Lawbreakers

We gratefully acknowledge The Ontario Trillium Foundation for making Peacemakers and Lawbreakers possible.

The Brantford Police Service has a long and distinguished record of community service spanning more than 125 years.

While advances in science and technology, changes in the law and ever changing communities have necessitated the evolution of policing over the past 125 years, one thing remains constant.

All of today’s officers, from the beat patrol officer to the forensics expert to the tactical team member continue to have the same goal as did the old-fashioned 19th Century lawmen. They are sworn to serve and protect.

Image: John James Vaughan Chief of Police 1885 - 1904

John James Vaughan Chief of Police 1885 - 1904

In honour of the generations of officers who made that commitment, the Brantford Police Service celebrated its rich history in 2002 with the publication of Peacemakers and Lawbreakers, written by Brantford Expositor reporter and local historian Heather Ibbotson.

Peacemakers and Lawbreakers takes readers on a fascinating trip through time, examining the history of law enforcement in Brantford. Spanning the earliest days of policing in the town of Brantford as far back as 1847 and reaching to the dawn of the 21st Century, Peacemakers and Lawbreakers carries readers back to the days of burly constables carting drunks home in wheelbarrows through to today’s specialized units which deal with a host of human frailties.

Image: Brantford

Brantford's First Police Station - Queen Street 1899 - 1954

The 185-page volume is packed with fascinating facts, daring deeds, heroes and villains. This "warts and all” history tells a complete tale, including the scandals that prompted a 1922 Royal Commission that clamped down on corruption within the force.

It also celebrates the lifetimes of service of men who served not only their community, but also their country, by volunteering for the First World War.
Readers will find thrilling the tales of some of the City’s most sensational crimes and criminals:
  • Police had their hands full in trying to catch the notorious Jack the Hugger, who plagued city streets in the mid-1890's with his unwanted "hugging” of unsuspecting female pedestrians.
  • Officers, many of them family men, worked feverishly to track down the monstrous child-killer Joseph Kennedy in 1903.
  • The city was shocked by the hideous discovery made in the chapter aptly entitled The Head in the Bucket case.

Image: Constable Davison walks the beat in 1937

Constable Davison walks the beat in 1937

Peacemakers and Lawbreakers also details the evolution of policing tools and of the police service itself. The service had to respond to change as best it could, as society itself evolved. Newfangled automobiles were a danger. The Great Depression turned the police station into a homeless shelter.

Skyrocketing inflation of the 1970s brought financial woes and resulted in a major restructuring of the service.
The volume also includes personal profiles of 10 chiefs of police which provide personal insights into the men who led the service from 1877 to 2002.
Peacemakers and Lawbreakers is a must-read for anyone interested in local history and in the history of policing.
A copy of Peacemakers and Lawbreakers is available to our citizens at the Brantford Public Library through the following link: http://brantford.bibliocommons.com/item/show/255233020_peacemakers_lawbreakers 
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