Cornwall Police Service

The History of Cornwall Police

Eddie Osler

Constable Eddie Osler (bottom right) surveys the
scene of the train wreck in July of 1948. The southbound
CNR locomotive failed to negotiate the eastbound
turn onto Sixth Street landing on its side just south
of the intersection.

The Cornwall Police has a history that dates back to 1784 when Village Constables David Wright and David Scheik walked the dusty roads of what would become known as Cornwall and the Townships. Although there is evidence of Special Constables working from 1835 to 1860, the first reference to Cornwall Police Force is dated 1860 and the first police constable of the town was Sam Pollock. In 1882 the first Chief, Allan Cameron was appointed. By 1900 Cornwall had three full time police officers who had responsibilities such as meat inspectors and tax collection.

Chief Cameron died in 1902 and for the next thirty years the Force was controlled by the Police Board and Council. All wages and authorities were passed by these boards.

As the population grew, Cornwall's square mile was policed by a handful of officers over the years. At the outset of WWII, the force was augmented by a separate force of six officers who patrolled the outskirts of the city. They were known as the Cornwall Township Police Department.

It took three years, but on New Year's Eve 1946 Cornwall became the 28th city in Ontario. This came about as the result of Cornwall annexing the Glebe area (9th Street to Fairgrounds and Cumberland to Marlborough) in 1943, which increased Cornwall's size from 1000 to 15,000 inhabitants.

The fourteen men from Cornwall and the six officers from the Township continued in separate roles, responsible for their territories, assisting each other, if the need arose.

By the early 1950's the talk of amalgamation of the two police forces surfaced. The OPP were a presence in the counties and the growth of the city to its present boundaries happened in 1957. The Cornwall City Police Department was formed with a combined complement of 20 men, January 1st, 1957. In 1957, Cornwall Police Department took over the traffic and general patrol of neighbouring Cornwall Island and held this function until the mid seventies.

The first Chief was Allan Clarke and the first Deputy was Township Police Chief Hormidas Poirier.

The next forty years saw many changes in policing and subsequently many changes in the Cornwall Police Force. In 1995 Tony Repa an Inspector with the Halton Regional Police Force was appointed Chief of the Cornwall Force.

In 1997 the Ontario Police Service Act introduced the removal of the word Force from the Act. This meant every Police Force in Ontario had to remove the word Force and change it with Service.

Chief Repa took it one step further and initiated a project to make the Cornwall Police Service more approachable and took the lead from Peterborough Lakefield Police and added "Community" to the name of the Cornwall Force. In 1998 after approval of the Cornwall Police Services Board the official name of the Cornwall Police Service became the Cornwall Community Police Service.

The above information was compiled from notes by Ray O'Collin and research by Retired Sgt. Thom Racine.