History Lesson

I’m turning into a bit of an historical enthusiast.

Visits to the Vancouver Police Museum and the Vancouver Archives (my new favourite place), scouring boxes of old photos excavated during our department’s recent move to a new building, the salvage of wooden signs and an old window frame from the garage-turned-kennel that housed the dog squad for decades (see below for some more information about our old building) – all of this speaks of how our department used to be.

It’s fascinating.

Dog Squad 1960

Letters dated from the 1920’s outline the creation and implementation of the Women’s Bureau, and the hiring of women as police officers.  The style, sentence structure, grammar and word choice are of a time when horses and carts outnumbered motor vehicles, and of when women were not expected to do a “man’s” job.

There are photos, memos, newspaper clippings, letters and publications – all for the reading.

What I have noticed, though, is a huge gap in the history of the VPD and of our city.

No matter where I look, the years 1939 to 1950 are missing.

World War Two.

If you have any suggestions on where I should look, please leave a comment or send me an email to sandra@behindtheblueline.ca


Old Dog Squad Building, under Cambie St. Bridge

The building has since been razed and is now the south/east corner of the police parking lot.

It was the building I transferred to in 2005, when there was the immediate issue of where to put me.  There was no women’s locker room or bathroom, so the guys all chipped in and cleaned out the janitor’s closet and stuffed a skinny locker into the tiny space so I would have a private place to change.  It was so small that I could not bend over to tie up my boots without my head hitting one wall and my rear hitting the other, so it was not without a small amount of jubilation that I rejoiced when we finally moved to an updated facility.

That said, I still miss the repeated comments of, “Hey, you forgot to tie your boots,” when I stepped out with laces flapping.  As routine would have it, I always had to shuffle into the office to lace ’em up.

It was a building steeped in tradition, memories and reputation, and I am honoured to have been able to call it home.

While the building had many positives in terms of tradition and memory, it had declined into very poor working and boarding conditions for the dogs assigned to the section.  Our new facility is fantastic for both dogs and handlers, and yes, I’m over-joyed to finally have my own locker room.

In fact, I think I have the nicest room in the whole building!  😉


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