One of the wonderful things about working in a museum is that occasionally a gem of an object is brought in for donation and suddenly it feels like Christmas.
One such donation came through our door in the spring of 2009, when a Sunday visitor handed our volunteer on duty his ‘gem,’ thinking it was too Key Stone Cop like to be real.
But it is.
Many years before, this gentleman visited a Surrey secondhand store in search of a prop for a school play his son was in. The prop he needed was a police badge and he actually found one in the store emblazoned with “Pitt Meadows Police.”
After the play, the badge spent many years in a closet in the visitor’s house and was found again during a clean out.
Lucky for us the Golden Ears Bridge had just opened and the free crossing period provided the Surrey resident with an excuse to visit Pitt Meadows and bring the badge in for identification and potential donation.
It was news to us at the museum as we had always thought policing in Pitt Meadows had its earliest roots with the British Columbia Provincial Police, as we had no objects or images that would indicate otherwise and the references to constables in the history book never indicated they were part of a small municipal force.
But the badge, professionally done, clearly indicated different.
Four years have passed and part of the process of preparing for the city’s 100th anniversary has included reading minutes from the first year of our municipal council’s work and contained therein is one of the more curious items of business – the establishment of a pound keeper/constable position.
In September 1914, this position was established on motion from councillors Reid and McMyn and was followed closely by another motion to “procure [a] suitable badge for [the] Police Constable”.
Also recorded in the minutes is the name of the candidate selected for the job, Lindsay Hutchison.
A few months later the constable would also be given the duty of collecting delinquent taxes.
A little later, W.H. Robinson would take on the job, as would E.A. Hellier.
In 1936, the Pitt Meadows constables were replaced with the B.C. Provincial Police force, whose office was in Haney, with constables Hooker and Kelly Irving responsible for policing in this community.
In 1941, Lindsay Hutchison passed away in Port Coquitlam, and in 1950, when the B.C. Provincial Police force ceased to exist, the RCMP took over policing in the area.
The “Pitt Meadows Police” badge is a coup for our small facility, back home almost 100 years after it was first issued, and is proudly displayed alongside a B.C. Police armband and various ARP and Coast Militia Rangers items from our collection.
is curator at Pitt Meadows Museum.