The Saint John Police Association is touted as the oldest police union in the world. Our history is tied to the early foundation of the loyalist city we police.
The City of Saint John was granted a Royal Charter in 1785 as the first incorporated City in Canada.
In 1849, night watchmen were replaced with the establishment of the first professional statutory municipal police force in Canada. Our Force was created 15 years before Halifax, 24 years before the North West Mounted Police, 71 years before the creation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
In 1918, Saint John Police officers formed the Saint John Police Protective Association. Shortly afterward, the officers were brought before the Chief and given 48 hours to reconsider or be dismissed. The majority (40 of 60) of the officers stood strong and were dismissed. The city then brought in the militia and 12 replacement officers.
At that time the Commissioner of Public Safety was elected and a recall of elected officials was called with 15% of voters signing a petition. The fired officers got the voters list and the 15% signatures and a recall election was held for the Commissioner of Public Safety and another Commissioner who was behind the firings. Both Commissioners were defeated and a new Public Safety Commissioner reinstated the fired officers with full back pay. The Chief of the day also resigned.
In 1918, the City had 60,000 citizens and the pay for a Constable was $100 per month. Association dues were $ .50 a month.
In 1919, the first set of working conditions including the right of police officers to affiliate with the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada were negotiated through Conciliation and a joint committee.
Fast forward to 2010, and the Saint John Police Association became the sole bargaining agent and representatives for police officers holding the rank of Constable and Sergeant within the Saint John Police Force.
(Photos courtesy of the Times and Transcript)