Victoria Police Department

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Victoria Police Department
Abbreviation VicPD
Past style ID Badge of VicPD
Motto Honour through Service
Agency overview
Formed July 1858
Employees 349
Volunteers 78
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of Victoria in the province of British Columbia, Canada
Governing body Victoria Police Board
Constituting instrument BC Police Act
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters 850 Caledonia Ave
Police Constables 243
Civilians 106
Elected officers responsible
Agency executive Frank Elsner, Chief Constable
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

Victoria Police Department (VicPD) is the municipal police force for the City of Victoria and the Township of Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada. It is the oldest municipal police department in Canada west of the Great Lakes, the first Canadian law enforcement agency to deploy Tasers and VicPD created the first digital forensic unit in the country. They are also one of the few police departments in Canada to use the G36 rifle.

VicPD is currently headed by Chief Frank Elsner, who took office on January 1, 2014.


Shoulder flash prior to June 2010

On July 8th, 1858, Vancouver Island Governor James Douglas appointed Augustus Pemberton as Commissioner of Police for the then British colony. Policing in Victoria pre-dated the city's founding (1862). Pemberton's appointment was published locally on July 17th, 1858.

Prior to the Colonial Police under Pemberton, policing on Vancouver Island was conducted by the Victoria Voltigeurs. The Voltigeurs existed as an armed, uniformed militia that served all Vancouver Island on an "as and when needed" basis. It is thought that they were primarily of Metis background. Following the end of their service, in 1854 a single town Constable (Thomas Hall) policed the early town core. The Department was a shared Crown Colony, Province and City establishment through until the mid-1870s when control and oversight of the Department was left with the young City of Victoria.

VicPD honours the memory of five officers who have lost their lives serving the citizens of Greater Victoria; the first officer, Constable Johnston Cochrane being murdered in 1859 and his death is marked as the first known law enforcement death in the Province of British Columbia. The most recent line of duty death was a tragic motorcycle incident that caused the death of Constable Earle Doyle in 1959. VicPD and their associated Victoria Police Historical Society placed a Memorial Cairn at their headquarters on Caledonia Avenue inscribing all five names.


The VicPD is a moderate sized police agency with two stations:

  • Main Headquarters Building in Victoria 850 Caledonia Ave
  • West Division in Esquimalt - shared facility with Esquimalt Fire Department and former Township of Esquimalt Public Safety Building

Neighbourhood patrol areas are:

  • Esquimalt
    • Panhandle
    • Selkirk
    • Colville
    • Parklands
    • Rockheights
  • Devonshire
  • West Bay
  • Esquimalt Village
    • Saxe Point
  • Victoria
    • Burnside
    • Hillside/Quadra
    • North Park
    • Oaklands
    • Victoria West
    • Downtown
    • Harris Green
    • Fernwood
    • North Jubilee
    • Rockland
    • James Bay
    • Fairfield
    • Gonzales

Previous VicPD headquarters:

  • Fort Victoria
  • Victoria Voltigeurs Encampment at Swan Creek and Colquitz Creek area
  • Bastion Square Gaol 1860-1880s
  • Victoria City Hall 1880s-1918
  • Fisgard Street 1918-1996[1]


Victoria Police is headed by Chief of Police Frank Elsner and has a total strength of 243 sworn officers.

Sections & Units: [2]

  • Main Headquarters
    • Patrol
    • Focused Enforcement Team (FET)
      • Bike squad
      • Beat officers
      • Traffic section
      • CRASH reconstruction team
      • Community Resource officers
    • Investigative Services
      • VIIMCU (Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit)
      • Major Crimes
      • Financial Crimes
      • Special Victims Unit
      • Forensic Services
        • Forensic Identification (IDENT)
        • Computer Forensics
    • Crime Prevention and Public Affairs
      • Public Affairs
      • Block Watch
      • Volunteer Services
      • Reserve Program
      • Crime Free Multi-Housing Program
    • Operational Planning & Support
    • 911 Communication Centre
    • Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT)
    • Strikeforce & Street Crime
    • Exhibit Control & Purchasing
    • Human Resources
    • Records
    • Information Technology
  • West Division
    • School Liaison Officers
    • Youth Investigators
    • Community Resource Officer
    • K-9 Units

The force also recruits Reserve Constables, otherwise known as Auxiliary Constable [1].

Rank structure

Integrated Road Safety Unit (IRSU)

Four VicPD officers are seconded to the 15 member unit IRSU.[3] IRSU is mandated to "providing intelligence led enforcement while targeting aggressive driving behaviors, reducing alcohol-related crashes and encouraging the use of seatbelts" within the Capital Regional District.[4] This unit comprises officers from Saanich Police Department, Victoria Police Department, Oak Bay Police Department, Central Saanich Police and the RCMP under an agreement with the BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and they patrol in specially marked car and are able to enforce laws outside their municipal jurisdiction.

Victoria Police Department Museum

In late 2014, the onsite police museum at the Victoria police station Caledonia headquarters was closed. The 150 years of policing artifacts from the early days of British Columbia to recent times were moved into storage. The VicPD Hall of Honour, which celebrates the accomplishments of both sworn and civilian staff was created in its place. The Hall of Honour was officially opened to the public on September 29th, 2015.

In literature

Victoria resident Stanley Evans has written a series of mysteries featuring a Coast Salish character, Silas Seaweed, who works as an investigator with the Victoria Police Department.[5]

See also


External links