Hamilton Police Service

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Hamilton Police Service
Logo of Hamilton Police Service
Motto Excellence in Policing
Agency overview
Formed March 11, 1833
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Legal jurisdiction Municipal
Governing body Police Services Board
Constituting instrument Police Services Act of Ontario
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters 155 King William St, Hamilton, Ontario
Sworn members 794
Unsworn members 281
Elected officer responsible The Honourable Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Agency executive Glenn De Caire, Chief of Police December 9, 2009 to present
Stations 3
Official website

The Hamilton Police Service (HPS) is the police service of the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Established in 1833, it was one of the first municipal police services created in North America and one of the oldest police services in the English-speaking world. This agency is the primary service charged with the duty of enforcing the Criminal Code of Canada and Provincial Statutes of Ontario in the City of Hamilton.

The Hamilton Police Service provides policing services to 520,000 residents. In 2012, they responded to approximately 80,000 calls-for- service. The proposed operating budget for 2015 is just over $148 million.


The Town of Hamilton was established on February 13, 1833 by a statute of Upper Canada.[1] It was one of the first Canadian communities to adopt the concepts of Sir Robert Peel. The first Board of Police elections were held on March 4th, 1833. Thomas Taylor was the first President of the Board with elected members; Colin. C. Ferrie, Ebenezer Stinson, Joseph Rolston and Peter. Hamilton.

Their first meeting took place at the Hamilton Court House on March 11, 1833. The first order of business was to consider a location for a town market place. By-laws were set forth for the regulation of the town and a number of town officials were appointed. the direction of the Board of Police, High Bailiff John Ryckman was appointed to keep the peace, thus establishing him as Hamilton's first Police Officer.

File:Hamilton Police Force in 1889 at Dundurn Castle.jpg
Photo of the Hamilton Police Force posing in front of Dundurn Castle in 1889

In 1846 the town of Hamilton received its charter. In 1848 Dundas created its own police agency. In 1850, the Police Village of Ancaster followed suit to complete the trio of area pre-Confederation police departments. In August 1940, the Township of Saltfleet established a Constabulary to patrol its increasingly urban territory, and in 1949, in the wake of the post-war boom, Stoney Creek followed suit.

On January 1, 1974, these police forces were merged into one Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police Force under its own Board of Commissioners of Police. Policing was no longer a ‘department’ of City Hall. On February 22, 1986, the Hamilton Harbour Police, under the jurisdiction of the Hamilton Harbour Commission, was disbanded and its function taken over by the Hamilton Wentworth Regional Police Force.

On January 1, 2001, the communities of Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, Stoney Creek and Hamilton merged to become the ‘new’ City of Hamilton. At the same time, the Hamilton Wentworth Regional Police merged to become one Hamilton Police Service.

Hamilton Police Service Coat of Arms

The Hamilton Police Service Coat of Arms and Colours, standards and guidons were granted by the Canadian Heraldic Authority (created by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II on the recommendation of His Excellency the Governor General of Canada) November 15, 2007. The Coat of Arms is a version of the national coat of arms for municipal Police Services. It may be granted to any municipal Police Service which is part of a municipal corporation that possesses a coat of arms by lawful grant from the Crown. All such ‘badges’ share a frame of gold maple leaves rising up from a representation of the provincial flower from the province in which the service is sited, all ensigned by the Royal Crown - St. Edward’s Crown.

"On a hurt a maple leaf Gules fimbriated Or, all within a wreath of maple leaves Or issuant from a trillium flower proper between two cinquefoils Gules, the whole ensigned by the Royal Crown proper and in base a ribbon Sable edged Or inscribed HAMILTON POLICE SERVICE in letters Argent;"


There are many symbolic meanings to various parts of the Hamilton Police Service Coat of Arms. The exterior frame of maple leaves, the trillium, and St. Edward’s Crown follows the traditional style of police coat of arms for a municipal police service in Canada. The Police Service has the responsibility of upholding the peace and the administration of justice under the Canadian Crown. The Royal Crown, at the top of the coat of arms, symbolizes the administration of Crown’s justice, while the laurel of maple leaves and trillium refer to Canada and Ontario respectively. The blue field represents the harbour of the City of Hamilton and the gold edges represent the City’s industry and wealth. The Red Maple Leaf represents Canada. The two cinquefoils allude to the arms of the City of Hamilton in which such a cinquefoil also appears. The cinquefoil is taken from the arms of the Chief of Clan Hamilton, and it thus refers to the City's namesake. The Coat of Arms is included in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada. [2]


"Per bend sinister Azure and Gules a bend sinister Or overall the Badge;"

The symbolism of this emblem is found in other element(s) of this record

Consecration and Trooping of the Colours

It was on May 12, 2008 that a special event was planned to unveil the Hamilton Police Service Grant of Arms and the Consecration and Trooping the Colour, the Service’s first-ever Police Colour. The Grant of Arms, more commonly known as a Coat of Arms incorporates symbolism reflecting the years of history and heritage of the Hamilton Police Service. A ‘Colour’ is the ceremonial flag, with a specific registered design, awarded to the Hamilton Police Service by Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. In Canada this is done through the Governor General of Canada and the Canadian Heraldic Authority. The design incorporates very specific symbolic features. To consecrate a flag is to ceremonially dedicate it to the service of the men and women, officers and civilians, of the Hamilton Police Service. The consecration making the flag a visible symbol of the years which have passed since the Service was created, and emblematic of the years to come. It is meant to serve as an inspiration for the future, and is a silent challenge to the future members to meet and exceed the achievements of those who have come before them. In a ceremony steeped in protocol and pageantry, the colour was consecrated by a drumhead service.

Thelogo, similar to the heraldic crest, was developed by a police committee when the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police became the Hamilton Police Service. It is the logo that appears on marked patrol vehicles, signage, letterhead, etc.

  • St. Edward's Crown
  • ribbon containing the words Hamilton
  • banner below with the words Police
  • within the ribbon:
    • maple leaf: while representing Canada, the leaf has six facets, representing the six municipalities that formed the Hamilton-Wentworth Region (1974) and then later the almalgamated City of Hamilton (2001). Those municipalities in addition to Hamilton are Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook and Stoney Creek.
  • wreath of golden maple leaves

The blue oval at the top of the red maple leaf represents the Hamilton Harbour, the six veins of the red maple leaf represent the six former municipalities, the veins of the leaf extending into the blue oval illustrate inclusiveness of the community, the gold trim around the maple leaf represents the wealth of industry, natural resources, business and community partnerships, the two blue waves at the bottom of the leaf represent the vision to be the best and most progressive police service.


Canine Unit

The first known record of dogs being used in policing the Hamilton community was in 1878, when an old stray dog the officers named “Bob” was taken in and routinely brought on night patrol to accompany and officer named Police Constable Ferris on his beat. Bob was not trained for special tasks, but often acted as a deterrent to those who had the potential to create trouble.

In 1960 the Hamilton Police Department acquired two dogs with the intent of training them for special circumstances. Hamilton Police had the second municipal Canine Unit in Canada. Their names were Sandy and King. The dogs were used for many functions which made the officers’ jobs safer and easier. Due to their keen senses, dogs were trained to track suspects or missing persons, search buildings, and to locate weapons and bombs. They were also trained to disarm criminals threatening the life of an officer. The dogs used as Police Dogs were for the most part German Shepherds. They are used because of their fierce loyalty, relatively even temperament, imposing physical presence and easy trainability.

The dogs train with a constable who is responsible for the dog both on and off the job. They live with the officer’s family which allows a constant relationship between the dog and its handler to develop. Much of the time, the dogs are in training to maintain the skills they have acquired. Today the Hamilton Police deploys four police service dogs (PSD). Each dog is trained in human scent detection and tracking. Police PSDs are also used for drug detection, firearms and currency. Hamilton Police also deploys a PSD for explosives detection.

Hamilton has had one PSD killed in the line of duty - PSD Troy killed February 25, 1992 (shot by a suspect during an apprehension). See also Detection dog.

Emergency Response Unit

During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, a terrorist attack was carried out against eleven Israeli Olympic team and delegation members who were killed along with a German Police Officer. The attack became known as the Munich Massacre. This attack prompted Police Agencies around the world to examine their capabilities in addressing such an attack of terrorism. As a result of international incidents of hostage takings like the one in Munich, plus other firearms related incidents in Canada and abroad, Chief Gordon Torrance had been planning to form a special unit to deal with high risk situations. The 1976 Summer Olympics were to be held in Montreal, Quebec. From June 23 to July 3, 1976, Hamilton was to be the host of the Pre-Olympics Basketball Tournament. Thirteen countries would be represented at that tournament, including Israel. The Munich Massacre was still fresh on the minds of those planning security for this event.

In September 1975, the Chief issued a Policy and Procedure to deal with Armed and Barricaded Persons. On Monday, November 3, 1975, Paul Lariviere (32 years) of Champlain St., Hamilton, exchanged gunfire with Hamilton Police from his residence. An officer who had a revolver eventually killed him. Lariviere was found to have 2 rifles in his apartment. This incident was a catalyst for the Hamilton Police Service to form a specialized unit. On November 8, 1975, a decision was made by Chief Torrance to form a tactical unit that would begin training in January of 1976. The Unit was to be based on the concept of the New York City Police Department SWAT. The Unit was known as “TEAM” which stood for ‘Tactical Emergency Assault Men’.

The mandate of TEAM was to attain a peaceful ending to police calls involving hostage-taking, gun and other weapon-related incidents. Five TEAM officers were initially sent to the ‘Anti-Sniper and Survival School’ at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. They also took on the responsibility of Explosives Disposal (EDU) and received this training through the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The fifteen-man unit became operational on June 13, 1976. When the first female officer became a member of the unit, the name was changed to Emergency Response Unit (ERU). ERU members are trained to handle a variety of weapons, deal with dangerous, high-risk situations, and are utilized when entering a premises for the execution of search warrants.


The ACTION Team is made possible through funding obtained from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services under the Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS). PAVIS aims to reduce illegal gang, drug and weapons activities in communities by focusing on intervention, prevention, enforcement and community mobilization.

The ACTION Teams consist of teams of officers who are deployed on foot and bicycle patrol. The officers are deployed based on an ongoing analysis of locations, crime trends, and offenders which will ensure that the ACTION Teams are in the right areas at the right times.

Hot spot analysis was used to assist in deployment strategies. Hotspot analysis is a statistical technique used to identify incidents that are concentrated within geographical areas over time. Identifying crime hotspots and analyzing both neighbourhood and crime characteristics within these areas are critical pieces of information for fighting crimes.

Mounted Patrol Unit

The Mounted Patrol Unit (MPU) was formed in September 2009 and consists of five horses and six officers. The priorities of the Mounted Patrol Unit are to heighten the Service’s ability to accomplish:

  • crime prevention
  • manage entertainment districts
  • conduct search and rescue
  • provide park and trail safety
  • public safety during large scale festivals and events, protests and demonstrations

MPU offers coverage throughout the city of Hamilton with rotating Day, Afternoon and Night Shifts.

Marine unit

The Marine Unit began as the Hamilton Harbour Police in 1921. It had a division called the Rescue and Patrol Unit which was responsible for all on-the-water activities. A Shore Patrol was created in 1938 to deal with on-shore situations. Both units together would be responsible to patrol the entire Hamilton Harbour area of Lake Ontario. The two units were amalgamated in 1969 and remained that way until 1986, when the Hamilton Harbour Commission disbanded the Harbour Police. After that, the responsibility for policing the harbour became the responsibility of the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police Service.

The boundaries of responsibility increased in 1996 when the Halton Regional Police Service joined forces with the Hamilton Wentworth Regional Police Marine Unit in order to provide a more complete service. This agreement ended in April of 2008 when Halton moved their Marine operations to Bronte Harbour.

The Hamilton Police Service Marine Unit operate a four man full-time marine and carry four "spare" officers for vacation coverage and emergencies. they patrol Hamilton Harbour and the western end of Lake Ontario. Hamilton Harbour is the largest Canadian port on the Great Lakes. The Marine Unit actively patrols from mid April until mid-November. In the off-season they perform ice rescue and traffic enforcement.

The unit operates a 32' aluminum patrol boat built by Hike Metal Products. It also has the use of a Zodiac Hurricane 853 (Rigid-hulled inflatable boat) the Royal Canadian Mounted Police keep stationed in Hamilton. It is equipped with twin supercharged 300 hp Mercury Verado motors. the RCMP often teams up and operates with the unit. The unit gained fame in April 2011 when they rescued a group of highschool rowers who were caught in a freak storm. The members received the Canadian Safe Boating Counsel "Rescue of the Year" award. The first time this award was given to a professional organization.

Auxiliary Police Unit

The Auxiliary Police were established in the early 1960s as a response to societal changes. Civil unrest throughout the world had the Police Service question its ability to deal with large-scale chaos. The principal goal was to create an auxiliary force made up of volunteer, unpaid officers who could be called upon to assist the regular Force if problems were ever to arise. The Auxiliary Police were (and still are) required to go through various training seminars, as well as maintain a high degree of physical fitness. Although in uniform, they function under very strict guidelines and do not substitute for regular officers. Instead, they assist in the processes when constables required a large, organized support.

The Auxiliary Police work at parades or during long weekends, at rallies, or large events where police presence is required on a larger scale than usual. They are identified with a shoulder flash that says 'Auxiliary'. They also wear a traditional light-blue shirt whereas sworn officers wear navy blue uniforms.


Police cars, also known as police cruisers are the most common vehicle used by the Hamilton Police Service. The vehicles are numbered in regards to their division and car number. For example, 710-1 represents that the vehicle is from Division 1 (Central), and the preceding 710 is the vehicle designation number. Vehicles assigned to uniformed Patrol begin with a 7 for a car and a 6 for a Sport utility vehicle. Specialty Units such as ERU and Canine begin with a 9.

Motor vehicles

Make/Model Type Status Origin
Schacht (automobile) Motor Car Paddy Wagon retired  United States
Dodge Coronet General Patrol Vehicle retired  United States
Studebaker Commander General Patrol Vehicle retired  Canada
Studebaker Champion General Patrol Vehicle retired  Canada
Ford Ranch Wagon Specialty Vehicle retired  United States
Dodge Polara General Patrol Vehicle retired  United States
Dodge Monaco General Patrol Vehicle retired  United States
Pontiac Laurentian General Patrol Vehicle retired  Canada
Dodge Diplomat General Patrol Vehicle retired  United States
Plymouth Caravelle General police vehicle retired  United States
Chevrolet Caprice General patrol vehicle retired  United States
Chevrolet Impala (1968, 2000-2005) General patrol vehicle retired  Canada
Chevrolet Chevrolet Lumina (2001–2005) Detectives  United States
Malibu (2001–2005) Detectives  United States
Chevrolet Malibu (2006) Detectives  Canada
Smart fortwo Specialty Car  France
Ford Police Interceptor (marked) General patrol vehicle, Traffic Enforcement  Canada
Ford Taurus (marked) General Patrol vehicle, Traffic Enforcement  United States
Ford Explorer (marked) General Patrol vehicle  United States
Ford Expedition General patrol vehicle, Traffic retired  United States
Dodge Charger (LX) (marked) General Patrol vehicle, Traffic Enforcement  United States
Volkswagen New Beetle Safety Bug car retired  Mexico
Harley Davidson FLHTP Police motorcycle  United States

Support vehicles

Make/Model Type Status Origin
Dodge Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van—Collision Reconstruction, Forensics  Germany
Ford Ambulance Former City of Hamilton EMS converted to Forensics Lab  United States
GMC Savanna Van—Emergency Response Unit  United States
Chevrolet Express Van Van-Emergency Response Unit  United States
Ford Explorer (un-marked) Canine Unit  United States
Ford Expedition (un-marked) Canine Unit retired  United States
Chevrolet Silverado SUV—Marine Unit  United States
Ford F350 pickup truck with horses trailer—Mounted Unit  United States
Terradyne Armored Vehicles Inc./Gurkha MPV — using F-550 chassis Tactical Armoured Vehicle—Emergency Response Unit  Canada
Ford F-series or GMC Vandura trucks Prisoner Transportation Services Court Wagons  Canada
Ford Van van RIDE  United States
GMC Safari RIDE retired  United States
Segway PT Downtown Patrol retired  United States

Marine Unit Vessels

Unit # Make Type Origin
Alliance I Hyke Industry 34', Dive Platform & Command Vessel marine boat with twin mercury 350 engines  Canada
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Zodiac Hurricane Rigid-hulled inflatable boat 28' RHIB Patrol and Rescue Vessel shared with the RCMP  Canada
Duxx Super inflatable with 30hp mercury outboard  Canada
Argo ARGO (ATV manufacturer) All-terrain amphibious vehicle  Canada
ROV VideoRay UROVs Pro 3 Remotely operated underwater vehicle  United States


Make/Model Type Status Origin
Bell JetRanger Helicopter 1999 Pilot Project shared with Halton Regional Police Service & Peel Regional Police.  Canada


Make/Model Type Origin
Norco Bicycles mountain bike  Canada
Specialized Bicycle Components mountain bike  United States
Cannondale Bicycle Corporation mountain bike  United States
Kona Bicycle Company mountain bike  Canada


In the 1990s, the majority of law enforcement agencies of Canada began wearing bulletproof vests and municipal police agencies started carrying semi-automatic handguns in the .40 S&W calibre cartridge. The Hamilton Police carry a Glock 22 handgun or Pistol with hollow-point .40 S&W calibre ammunition.

These firearms replaced the aging .38 Special revolver. A police cruiser might carry a Remington Model 870 which is a shotgun capable of firing a variety of shotgun shells. Other Services have begun carrying the carbine rifle.

Other less-lethal weapons carried include conducted energy weapons (Tasers), pepper spray, and an expandable baton. In addition, the personal equipment of police officers typically includes: handcuffs, flashlight, portable radio, notebook, and a pair of disposable gloves and Kevlar gloves.

The Emergency Response Unit (ERU) are issued a Glock handgun with 9mm calibre ammunition. They also use a variety of Less-lethal weapons such as flexible baton rounds. Other weapons used by ERU include:

See also


  1. Statutes of Upper Canada, 1833 3° William IV pg. 58-68, Chapter XVII. An act to define the Limits of the Town of Hamilton, in the District of Gore, and to establish a Police and Public Market therein.
  2. For further information on the coat of arms of the Hamilton Police Service, see the website of the Governor General of Canada, http://reg.gg.ca/heraldry/pub-reg/project.asp?lang=e&ProjectID=1194&ShowAll=1

External links