The Rothesay Police Department, as an actual law enforcement agency, commenced operations on April 1st 1951.
Prior to this the Town was policed by a constable who usually worked full time with the Town works department and part time as a law enforcement officer.
An attempt was made by the Town to secure the services of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police however the Town was informed that since Rothesay was a municipality they should form their own police department. Therefore on the 1st of April 1951, Mr. Harry Darcus Miller was appointed as the first full time police officer for the Town. The following is a quote from the Town Council minutes, “The appointment of Mr. Harry Miller as Constable for the Village was approved. Remuneration was to be $5.00 a day and uniform and equipment were to be provided.”
The equipment which was issued to Constable Harry Miller consisted of a hat, whistle, and a badge which were all donated by the Saint John City Police Chief, the late J.J. Oakes.
Harry, as everyone knew him, patrolled the streets of the Town on foot as he had no patrol car. His methods of enforcing the Motor Vehicle Act were, due to necessity, different but effective. His method of catching speeders was a sample of his ingenuity. He would stick out his thumb to hitch a ride, and once picked up, would watch the speedometer. If the driver happened to exceed the speed limit, out would come the ticket book to the surprise of the offending driver! If Constable Miller saw a car run a stop sign he would run out in front of it to stop it - very dangerous, but again very effective.
Shortly after the Town bought Constable Harry Miller his first patrol car. It was a 1942 Dodge Coupe, bought second hand for $325.00.
Harry had a very good relationship with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Saint John detachment patrolled the areas of Renforth, East Riverside, Fairvale, Quispamsis, and Gondola Point. During this time the RCMP had no radio communications. If there was a message for them, the detachment officer would call Harry who would hang a certain coloured towel on the clothesline. If this was seen by the RCMP while driving by they would stop and the message would be given to them.
The Rothesay Police Department became radio equipped in 1953, three years after its inception.
The first speed radar was purchased in 1967 and was a Stephenson Speedalizer. The first person issued a ticket from this new piece of equipment was the late Dr. J. A. Caskey who happened to be the Mayor of Rothesay at the time.
The strength of the Department remained unchanged for 18 years; however, an agreement was reached between the Town of Rothesay and the Villages of East Riverside and Renforth, on July 1st 1969. The agreement indicated the Rothesay Police Department would take over policing duties in these villages. In order to accommodate this expansion of jurisdiction, two constables were hired and Constable Miller became Chief Harry Miller. Between 1969 and 1974, two more positions were made in order to ease the workload on the three members.
The next addition to the Force came in on the 1st of April 1974 when the Rothesay Police Department took over policing of the Village of Fairvale. This expansion required the hiring of two more members, bringing the total to seven.
Next the Village, now Town, of Quispamsis was brought under the jurisdiction of the Rothesay Police Department. Policing of this area started on April 1st 1978. Due to the population and that the size of Quispamsis equaled that of the rest of the policing area; seven Officers were added, bringing the total to fourteen.
In December 1983, an agreement was reached between the following communities, Towns of Rothesay and Quispamsis, Villages of Renforth, East Riverside/Kingshurst, Fairvale, and Gondola Point. This agreement formed the new Rothesay Regional Police Force, which came into being at 12:01 a.m., January 1st 1984 which also meant that the former Rothesay Police Department ceased to exist.
Harry Miller ran the Rothesay Police Department from April 1st 1951 until he succumbed to cancer on March 5th 1975. In August 1975, Mr. Grant Lewis, a former member of the RCMP was hired as Chief. He remained Chief of the Rothesay Regional Police Force until November 30th 1976. In December of 1976 Melvin Saunders, who came up through the ranks of the Department, replaced Chief Lewis. Saunders remained with the Force until December 12th 1982. On January 12th 1983 Cyril L. Oram became the Chief of the Rothesay Regional Police Force after serving the Saint John Police force for 33 years. During his first year as Chief, Oram added three more officers to the growing number of members patrolling the streets.
Chief Oram was replaced in 1988 by Thomas Gladney who served until 1998 when Chief Stephen McIntyre took over the responsibility. Chief McIntyre, who also came up through the ranks, retired in November 2016. Chief Steve Palmer, who served as Deputy Chief from 1998-2016, became the current Chief of the KRPF.
When the latest Policing Agreement between the Municipalities of Rothesay and Quispamsis expired in 2013, it was decided that in order to better reflect the policing jurisdiction, the Force would undergo a name change, to that of the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force, effective March 31, 2014. This aligned the name of our service similar to that of the Kennebecasis Valley Fire Department and/or the Kennebecasis Public Library. The present day Kennebecasis Regional Police Force consists of 38 sworn members and is responsible for policing within both Towns, comprising a population of approximately 34,000. The Force has all necessary and up-to-date equipment available and offers a full variety of policing services.
The Kennebecasis Regional Police Force has come a long way since the days of Harry Miller but has maintained the dedication to that of a professional policing service which he started in 1951.