In 1883, the Vancouver City Council voted for the foundation of a city police force. 

Here is the full text of the ordinance:

Ordinance No.139

An ordinance to establish a police force for the City of Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver does ordain as follows:

Section 1. That the police force of the City of Vancouver shall consist of two men, to be elected by the Council, who shall perform police duty at all hours when called upon so to do, and in manner as directed by the ex=officio Chief of Police.

Section 2. That the Mayor of the City shall be and is hereby constituted ex=officio Chief of Police, and he shall control, subject to order of the Council, the Police force of the City, and assign to said force such duties as shall be for the best interests of the quiet and good government of the city.

Section 3. That the term for which members of the police force shall be elected is fixed at two years, or until removed from office by a majority vote of the Council.  Provided, that the ex=officio Chief of Police may at any time between meetings of the Council suspend a member of said force, and appoint a man to fill the temporary vacancy, which suspension and appointment shall be valid and have force until the Council takes action thereon.

Section 4. That the salary of the members of the police force shall be fifty dollars ($50.00) per month each.

Section 5. That this ordinance shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage and approval.

Read first and second times December 3rd, 1883.

Read third time and passed under unanimous suspension of the rules, December 3rd, 1883.

Approved December 4th, 1883. The VPD has operated continuously since this date.

The department was eventually led by the City Marshal.

plice and firefighters old time

In 1889, the wooden courthouse/jail building was involved in a major fire that destroyed much of downtown Vancouver. In 1891, a brick city hall and police station replaced the one lost in the 1889 fire. In the picture on the right, some of the Vancouver Police Department, the Mayor, and the Vancouver Fire Department pose in front of the 1891 City Hall building. The police department was also located in this building, while the fire department was next door.

1900 bateman nerton secrist image

In 1900, the population of Vancouver was 3,126 and the department consisted of 3 officers, 1 Marshal and 2 officers.

The above photograph shows the entire Vancouver Police Department in 1900. From left: Albert Bateman, George Nerton and John Secrist. At this time, Nerton was leading the department as City Marshal. Later, both Bateman and Secrist led the department, with Secrist becoming the first Chief of Police in 1910.

1901 Batement nerton secrist image

In the photograph on the right, Officer Albert Bateman, City Marshal George Nerton and Officer John Secrist pose in their police uniforms, 1901.

Old police in sepia

In the above photograph, Vancouver Police Officers Winfield Gasaway, Henry Burgy, and John Secrist can be seen with badges from that time period, sometime before 1908. Both Henry Burgy and John Secrist later served as Vancouver Police Chief.

old police group

In the photograph on the right, the department stands in front of the 1891 City Hall/Police Station, around 1908.

By 1910, the population of Vancouver had reached 9,300.

historic police group

The above photograph shows the Vancouver Police Department around 1910. Chief John Secrist is at the far left and Officer Ira Cresap is second from left. Ira Cresap later served as Chief from 1927 to 1935.