History & Museum History of the Winnipeg Police
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PART FIVE - THE FIFTIES & SIXTIES
Researched and written by Staff Sergeant Jack Templeman (retired)
The next and seventh man to become Chief Constable was Charles McIVER who was the Deputy Chief at the time. Chief McIVER continued to direct the department as it grew to 300 men in the post-war era. The population grew as did the crime and traffic problems. The surrounding cities and municipalities also grew with new housing developments all around Winnipeg.
In 1949 the police department was once again faced with a Royal Commission to investigate the charges of police brutality and complaints of prisoners being held incommunicado. Once again the findings of the Commission cleared the department of any wrongdoing.
The famous flood of 1950 put all the residents of Winnipeg as well as the police department to the test. Never before had such a large city been faced with the task of mass evacuation while fighting to contain the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. It is a credit to all the citizens that both crime and traffic accidents actually decreased during the crisis.
1950 was also a year that the police department would lose another officer in the line of duty. Detective Sergeant Edwin "Ted" SIMS was shot to death at the scene of a domestic dispute on Argyle Street. The murderer, Henry MALANIK, was convicted and was the last man executed in Manitoba.
Chief McIVER retired in 1953 and was succeeded by his Deputy, Robert T. TAFT. Chief Taft had taken leave during the war to serve with the Canadian Provost Corps and was kept on active duty after the war to help organize the new German police forces. These duties obviously helped when he took over the Winnipeg Police as he set about to modernize the department.
One of the first things the Chief did was to hire a number of Commissionaires on contract to enforce parking by-laws and then to take over the serving of summonses. These changes freed officers for regular patrol duties and also reduced the friction between the driving public and the police.
In 1959 the Chief authorized the reorganization of the police record systems into a modern and efficient Central Registry. This year also saw the establishment of the first "999" Emergency Telephone System in North America through the efforts of Mayor Steve Juba. The calls for police, fire, ambulance and eventually the poison centre became the responsibility of the police to answer.
The size of the force grew to over 400 men and still there was a need for more so Chief Taft began a system in 1960 of hiring "police cadets". These were young men 18 years of age who performed non-active and clerical work in the various divisions gaining experience so that they could apply as constables on reaching the age of 21 years. This system also allowed for more officers to work on the street rather than inside.
The last thing that Chief Taft fought for was a new police station to replace the aging Rupert Avenue building as well as the two sub-stations. Plans for the Public Safety Building were begun before Chief TAFT retired in 1965 and was replaced by his Deputy Chief, George S. BLOW. ( continued )
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