Our Mission Statement:
To Serve and Protect in partnership with our community.
Providing quality service in an equitable and assessable manner
Welcome to the Stratford Police Website. It is a privilege to have been given the opportunity to serve the great community of Stratford as your Acting Chief of Police. The members of the Stratford Police Service are dedicated to serving the community of Stratford in a respectful, professional and sensitive manner. Our police officers are members of the community, and serve with our service mission in mind - “To Serve and Protect in Partnership with our Community through Honour, Respect, Integrity and Dedication”.
We hope our website provides the information that you are looking for. As always, if you need any questions answered or clarification regarding anything found on our website, please don’t hesitate to contact the Service and we will assist you in any way we can.
Thank you for visiting. We are here to assist and serve our community. The Stratford Police Service is committed to providing our community with the absolute best service, focusing on “Community-Partnerships-Service”
Acting Chief of Police
Police Services Board
Stratford Police Services Board
Every municipality in Ontario that maintains a police force (service) is required to have a Police Services Board.
Here in Stratford, we have a five member board and pursuant to the Police Services Act, our board consists of:
The current members of the Stratford Police Services Board are:
Individuals who cannot be a member of a Police Services Board are:
Police Services Boards are responsible for the provision of adequate and effective police services in their respective municipalities and they:
The oversight of Ontario’s police services by civilian boards, which ensure that police services operate at arm’s length from their respective municipal councils, is a governance model that is admired around the globe.
Some other interesting facts concerning our police service board include:
Police Services Board meetings are open to the public. Please follow the link below for the most up-to-date meeting information:
Contact information for the board:
Stratford Police Services Board
P.O. Box 21037
1 Wellington Street
Stratford, ON N5A 7V4
W – (519) 271-0250 x236
A Brief History of the Stratford Police Service
It is generally thought that the first Police Constable in Stratford was John Augustus McCarthy, the Australian born son of a military officer. While Stratford was still a hamlet in the mid 19th century policing was the responsibility of the County.
1854: When Stratford became incorporated the five-man council formed an official one-man Police Force. Constable George Larkworthy was that person at an annual salary of 80 pounds per annum.
1855: Another officer, Edmund Townsend was appointed and he worked for free.
1856: A second 'paid' constable was hired, tax collector Robert Monteith, who received 75 pounds per annum.
1857: The town's new constable, James Hamilton, received on-call assistance from constables appointed by the county court of the general sessions. Mostly businessmen and hotel keepers these men assisted Constable Hamilton when fights, usually in taverns, got out of control. They also assisted at special occasions such as fairs and circuses. For $160.00 per year - plus fees, Constable Hamilton attended police court and council sessions. He also ensured the town caretaker tended fires, coal-oil lamps and candles, and prevented destruction of the town's property. He was responsible for rounding up stray livestock, supervising ditching, road and sidewalk construction. Additionally, he was the Truant Officer and Health & Sanitary Inspector. Traffic control was also the responsibility of the Police and the management of livestock within the city was the primary concern. In fact, in 1859 a By-law was passed to assist with the control of livestock by empowering the constable to impound stray pigs.
1862: The next Constable appointed was Thomas Lunn who one year later was charged with extorting $2.00 from an apple seller. The jury found him guilty but he skipped bail and made his way to the United States.
1868: Council appointed extra night policemen for as long as the Mayor and Reeve deemed necessary. This move was prompted by prominent resident J.J. E. Linton who had complained about the ‘morals’ of the town's youths.
1872: Stratford's population had grown to approximately 5,000 and the Police Force size was officially increased to two constables with the addition of a full-time Night Constable. John A. McCarthy became the town's first Chief Constable.
1876: Chief Constable John A. McCarthy hired his son John McCarthy (Jr) giving the force a compliment of three members.
1883: The new Chief Constable, William B. Wilson, was fired for allegedly withholding fees from the municipality. Wilson then charged the mayor, William Roberts, with libel. A jury upheld Robert' s actions but nevertheless awarded Wilson $1.00 and costs. The Chief Constable was later cleared in court.
1884: Another By-law was introduced prohibiting cows from running loose in certain seasons. Police also had to contend with Impromptu horse races on Ontario Street. Large crowds gathered to watch the races as youngsters challenged each other. This activity angered some residents particularly when it occurred on Sundays.
1884: The next Chief was Thomas Dodds who was discharged the following year and resigned.
1885: The next Chief was W.H. Harrington of St. Mary's.
1888: John McCarthy Jr. was appointed Chief Constable and remained so until he was killed in 1913 at the fire that destroyed the Knox Presbyterian Church. Constable Matthew Hamilton and Fire Chief Hugh Durkin also perished in the fire. In the years near the turn of the century officers only means of transportation was by foot, bicycle or livery rigs and taxis when needed. Until 1920 contact between the officer on the beat and the Station Officer was impossible except when the two met at the Police Station. Later, red lights at intersections notified the beat man when he was needed.
1913: William Lanin was appointed Chief of Police and he patterned the five-man department after the police department in Toronto.
1920: Joseph L. Broadley appointed as Chief of Police
1921: The Police Force received its first patrol car - a used McLaughlin-Buick for $1,500.00.
1922: The Police force acquired a motorcycle and sidecar.
1925: 'Police Telephones', also known as ‘Call Boxes’ were installed in three locations in the City.
1930: Charles Gagen appointed as Chief of Police
1933: Robert J. Beatty appointed as Chief of Police
1945: A.T. Day was appointed as Chief of Police. Chief Day was responsible for many new innovations within the Stratford Police Service, including a radio equipped patrol car, in-service officer training and civilian Receptionists/Clerks. He was also responsible in having city council form a Traffic Committee in the 1950's and helped plan the Police Area of the Administration of Justice Building in 1963. It remains the current police headquarters to this day.
1945: Radio equipment was installed in the Force's only car.
1965: Emmerson Anderson appointed Chief of Police
1973: Stratford appoints its first female constable, Jacqueline (Phillips) Hall.
1974: The Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) is introduced and Stratford begins to utilize it.
1975: Norman E. MacDonald appointed Chief of Police. At this time the Stratford Police Force had 40 sworn officers and 14 Civilian employees. Four marked police cars (two of which were propane-powered) and two unmarked cars were the vehicles in use.
1983: Stratford Police joined four other police agencies in the Police Regionalized Information & Data Entry (PRIDE) cooperative. The other original partners were the Brantford, Fergus, Guelph and Waterloo Regional Police Services. The Fergus Police Service no longer exists. Together we share a mutual Records Management System (RMS) and Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.
1985: Joseph Hartung is appointed Chief of Police
1988: Lewis Lawson appointed Chief of Police
1989: Stratford and the other PRIDE agencies install Mobile Work Stations (MDT’s) in its police cruisers. This innovation permits members to independently conduct CPIC queries from their cars.
1995: The Emergency Response Unit (ERU) was formed to contend with potentially dangerous situations such as barricaded persons. The ERU members partake in monthly training sessions to keep their specialized skills sharp.
1996: Gerald W. McEwin appointed as Stratford 15th Chief of Police. Also in 1996, to help patrol the city’s expansive park system and cope with high vehicular and pedestrian traffic during Festival season, a Bike Team was introduced. These members, generally two from each platoon, ride rugged and specially equipped mountain bicycles while on patrol.
2003: With the advancement of technology, the original in-car MDT’s are replaced with state of the art Mobile Work Stations. These devices permit the officers to utilize additional software applications and databases.
2004: The Stratford Police Service celebrates its 150th anniversary. A gala celebration is held and our new Stratford Police Service Crest is unveiled.
2005: Stratford and the other PRIDE partners initiate the use of a new RMS – Niche – which can be accessed by members in the field via our Mobile Work Stations.
2006: In response to escalating community concern over illicit drug abuse, particularly the use of Crystal Methamphetamine, a specialized Drug and Intelligence Unit is established.
2008: Stratford and the other PRIDE partners begin to use a new CAD system from Intergraph.
2009: Stratford and our other PRIDE partners join a national police information sharing group – the Police Information Portal (PIP) – which allows member agencies to access each other’s Records Management Systems. The result is an exponential increase to our investigative resources.
2011: To address property crime issues, the Drug and Intelligence Unit is renamed as the ‘Street Crime Unit’ and an additional member is assigned to specialize in property crimes. The unit’s mandate is widened to provide a more comprehensive approach to addressing crime issues.
2012: John T.W. Bates is appointed as Stratford’s 16th Chief of Police. The Service also establishes a Canine Unit.
2016: Mike Bellai is appointed as the 17th Chief of Police for Stratford.
Pipes and Drums
In 2008, the Stratford Police Service was very proud to welcome The Stratford Police Pipes & Drums into the police family.
The band was formed in 1986 as the Perth County Pipe Band, under the direction of Pipe Major Reid Shepley, by past members of the Perth Regiment Pipe Band, the Royal Canadian Regiment Pipe Band, the North Easthope Pipe Band and the St. Mary's Pipe Band.
In 2012, with the help of a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Band was outfitted with new kilts in the Stratford Police Pipe Band Tartan. The new tartan was designed by lead drummer Scott Baughman.
Remembrance Day in Stratford in 2012
Members of the Stratford Police Pipes and Drums hail from Stratford, as well as neighbouring communities in Perth, Huron, and Waterloo Counties. The Band is a familiar attraction each year at fairs, parades and charitable events throughout Southwestern Ontario. The Band often marches with Royal Canadian Legion Branch 8 in Stratford, and Unit 261 of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Association, and participates in the annual Ontario Police Memorial at Queens Park in Toronto.
Through the summer the Band plays a series of concerts for the residents of seniors and long term care residences in the area. One of the highlights of the Band’s playing season is the annual concert at the gala opening of the Stratford Festival.
In 2013, the Band will represent the Stratford Police Service for the third time at the Ontario Police Memorial in Toronto and play for the second time during a graduation ceremony at the Ontario Police College. These events are singularly important to the police community and the Service is extremely proud that it will be so well represented.