Policing the Wild North-West: A Sociological Study of the Provincial Police in Alberta and Saskatchewan, 1905-32

Synopsis

In Policing the Wild North-West, the first comprehensive social history of provincial police in western Canada between 1905 and 1932, Zhiqiu Lin investigates the complex relationship between the role of policing, the political sphere, and social progress. This book attempts to analyze the effects on provincial police in Alberta and Saskatchewan of various social phenomena ranging from political radicals and vagrants to prohibition bootleggers and black market profiteers. These factors placed enormous demands on the development of policing and had a significant impact on three specific and interrelated areas: first, the professionalization of police organizations within society, as evidenced by changes in policing technology, varying political agendas, and, perhaps most importantly, within the police organizations themselves; second, the shifting of focus away from the "dangerous classes" and social agitators towards investigative procedures required for solving serious crime; and finally, the impact of policing on the rates of crime as influenced by the role of police officers as agents of social change and the value of social service in strengthening community and reducing the motivation towards criminal activity. The book concludes with an examination of the transition between federal and provincial responsibilities for policing in the two provinces, the reasons for the disbandment of the provincial police forces, and the broader issues of police development and the rationalization of policing in modern society.