Halifax Regional Police

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Halifax Regional Police
Halifax Regional Police.svg
Motto Leading and partnering in our community to serve and protect.
Agency overview
Formed October 28, 1864
Legal jurisdiction Halifax Regional Municipality
Operational structure
Overviewed by Commission Halifax Board of Police Commissioners

Sworn members 615
Unsworn members 321
Elected officers responsible
  • The Honourable Mark Furey, Minister of Justice
  • Deputy Mayor Steven Craig, Board Chair
Agency executive
Stations 8
Official website

The Halifax Regional Police is one of a number of law enforcement agencies operating in the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia; the other primaries being the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Forces Military Police. The city also is home to a small detachment of the Canadian National Railway Police.

The force has a total strength of 526 sworn officers, 151 civilian staff, 170 crossing guards, nine K-9 dogs and two horses. It is headed by Jean-Michel Blais, Chief of Police. A household in the Halifax Regional Municipality typically pays around C$28.39 per month for police protection.[1]


Halifax City Police on the Grand Parade, July 1914

The Halifax Police Department was officially formed on October 28, 1864, although a system of constables had been operated in an unofficial manner since the first days of settlement, on July 18, 1749. Each ship arriving in the port city of Halifax would appoint one member of the crew to act as a constable responsible for the actions of the crew and passengers on board. In January 1799, the "Night Patrol" was formed to address a number of break and enters that hit the area in the previous year.

July 1813, was marked by widespread rioting and the Militia was called up to take over policing duties. They were discharged in February 1814, but quickly re-instated less than a month later when rioting resumed.

In October 1864 the Day Watch and Night Watch merged to form the Halifax Police Department under City Marshall Garrett Cotter. Six divisions were formed with five men assigned to each Sergeant. Halifax got its first Detective in 1873.

The Dartmouth Police Department was established in 1874 following the City of Dartmouth's incorporation the previous year. The Dartmouth Police Department worked out of the Dartmouth Town Hall until the 1940s where it was moved to Wentworth Street. In the early 1990s, the Dartmouth Force moved to a new headquarters at 21 Mount Hope Avenue. It is noteworthy that the Dartmouth Police Department had a number of "firsts" for Nova Scotia. Those include, first with winter and summer issued clothing, air conditioned cars, and dress uniforms. The Force also was the first to have a K9 unit in the province as well as outfit its members with bullet proof vests. The town of Bedford didn't have its own police force until 1982. The Bedford Police Station was located in the current day Cascade Spa building on the Bedford Highway and later relocated to Sunnyside Mall.[2]

With the April 1, 1996 creation of the Halifax Regional Municipality, the police forces of Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford were dissolved and merged into the new Halifax Regional Police (HRP). Policing in the new municipality was split between HRP covering the boundaries of the former cities of Halifax and Dartmouth and town of Bedford, while the RCMP cover Sackville and rural areas in the rest of the municipality.


Police headquarters on Göttingen Street

Patrol Division[edit]

The patrol division is divided up into three divisional areas:

The patrol division has a special 8 car traffic unit, a park patrol unit, and a mounted unit (consisting of 2 horses named "Sarge" and "Cruise").

In addition to the visible patrol officers, the patrol division has several specialized units:

  • Bike Unit
  • Emergency Response Team
  • K-9 Unit
  • Mounted Unit
  • Public Safety Unit
  • Quick Response Unit
  • Traffic Services Unit
  • Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS)[3]

Criminal Investigation Division[edit]

The Criminal Investigation Division is made up of four main sections: Special Investigation Section (SIS), Criminal Operations Section (CROPS), General Investigation Section (GIS) and Special Enforcement Section (SES).[4]

Special Investigation Section[edit]

The Special Investigation Section is an integrated unit staffed by HRP officers as well as RCMP officers. This section is responsible for investigating sexual assault, proceeds of crime, financial crime, and homicide. The section also investigates cold cases, and has a High Risk Enforcement team which monitors high risk offenders in HRM.[5]

Criminal Operations Section[edit]

Within the Criminal Operations Section is a team of Quality Assurance Readers, 8 sergeants who are responsible for ensuring the quality of all police reports. The Quality Assurance Readers also determine which section should handle the investigation, if a follow up is necessary.

The Investigative Call Back Unit is responsible for contacting people involved in a police incident to ensure that all necessary information has been obtained or given out.

The Crime Analysis team monitors crime trends in HRM, allowing police to have a better understanding of crime in the community.

The Crime Stoppers Unit is responsible for obtaining information about a crime from the public. Anyone with information about a crime can call anonymously to give police tips that may help with their investigation.

The Polygraph Unit is responsible for conducting polygraphs during the course of a police investigation, and during the hiring process.

The Forensic Identification Unit is responsible for collecting, preserving and analyzing evidence for police investigations.

The National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST) is a joint unit between RCMP and other police forces throughout the country, including the HRP. They focus on the illegal movement of weapons within Canada.[6]

General Investigations Section[edit]

The General Investigations Section is an integrated unit of HRP and RCMP officers. They are responsible for investigating all cases of robbery, break and enter and auto theft. This unit also investigates cases of arson, serious assault, and firearms complaints.[7]

Special Enforcement Section[edit]

The Special Enforcement Section is an integrated unit of HRP and RCMP officers.

The Drug Section is in charge of enforcing the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Primary focus is on street and mid-level drug trafficking, and also help with federal drug investigations. Drug awareness is also a priority for this section.

The Combined Forces Intelligence Unit is responsible for investigating organized crime. In addition to HRP and RCMP officers, this unit includes members of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The Vice Unit investigates crimes of morality, such as gambling, prostitution, and pornography. The unit also investigates missing persons.

The Port Investigation unit are responsible for patrolling the lakes in HRM. The unit is also partners with the Coast Guard and Ports Harbourmaster to patrol the Halifax Harbour, Bedford Basin, and Northwest Arm. The unit consists of about 20 HRP officers who patrol on jet skis and a Boston Whaler.

The Computer Forensic Unit is responsible for gathering evidence in relation to computer hacking, internet prostitution and pornography, frauds, threats, and child pornography.


There are 233 vehicles of which 118 are marked vehicles and 115 are unmarked. These include cruisers, SUVs, vans, 12 motorcycles, 4 boats, a mobile command vehicle, 6 ATVs, and a forensics vehicle.[1] The HRP also utilizes five radar trailers, four utility trailers, and a bomb trailer.

Other responsibilities[edit]

The Halifax Regional Police also does Bylaw enforcement for the HRM - pesticides,noise, smoking, dangerous & unsightly premises, sidewalk snow & ice removal, and curbside solid waste.

International policing[edit]

Three members made history in 1999. They were the first officers from a municipal force from Atlantic Canada to serve on a United Nations peacekeeping force in Kosovo. Since then, 17 other HRP officers have served on peacekeeping missions in East Timor, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Haiti and Sudan.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°38′58.24″N 63°34′50.10″W / 44.6495111°N 63.5805833°W / 44.6495111; -63.5805833