In February 1892, Edmonton became a Town and elected its first mayor, Matthew McCauley.
In those days, town council convened on the top floor of a butcher shop. It didn’t take long for local and federal politics to emerge. One of the earliest contentions arose when Ottawa decided to move a Land Titles office from Edmonton’s town centre to south of the river to our rival, Strathcona. As word got around, approximately 200 Edmontonians gathered at the small land title office, ripping the wheels off the portable frame and unhitching the horses as they attempted to pull the office away. Two days later, Mayor McCauley had rounded up 40 locals – all of them armed with Snider rifles – to protest the Dominion of Canada’s decision. The Northwest Mounted Police arrived from Fort Saskatchewan to intervene as Edmonton was literally “up in arms” over the issue. Citizens made their point and the office remained.
When Mayor McCauley got back to business, the creation of a town constable was a top priority, and literally the 15th order of business for the Town of Edmonton (population 700).
The history of the Edmonton Police began on June 20, 1892, with the signing of By Law #15. Note that these decisions were made “By Law,” and the space between these two words no longer exists.
Text from Bylaw #15
A bylaw to provide for the appointment of Special Constables.
The Mayor and Council of the Municipality of the Town of Edmonton in Council assembled enacted as follows.
When and so often as the Mayor for the time being of the said municipality shall deem necessary, he may appoint one, or more special constables, whose powers and duties shall extend throughout the limits of the municipality, and who shall be subject to the direction of the Mayor for the time being or such other person as the Council by resolution shall appoint in his stead.
Each and every constable so appointed shall forthwith take before the said Mayor an oath to the effect following that is to say:
“I …………. having been appointed a Constable for the municipality of the Town of Edmonton do solemnly swear that I will truly faithfully and impartially perform the duties appertaining to the said office to the best of my skill and ability, so help me God.”
Every constable so appointed shall hold office for the period fixed by the terms of his appointment which shall in no case exceed thirty days.
Done and Passed at Edmonton, this 20th day of June 1892.
Mayor M. McCauley