The decision to build a major industrial plant in Fort Saskatchewan in 1951 created a boom as had never been seen before or since.

The town of 1,000 tripled in just three years. Steady growth continued through the 1960's, causing considerable difficulties for the small town police force and for town officials responsible for law enforcement.

By 1972 town council decided Fort Saskatchewan needed the mounted police once more.


Sherritt Gorden Mines Arrive


The Mounted Police Return Fort Saskatchewan Aerial View
Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta


Town officials received a great big Christmas present in December, 1951, when they were notified by phone that Sherritt Gordon Mines had decided to build a nickel refinery in Fort Saskatchewan.

The town was changing fast. Natural gas service had been added on Oct. 27, 1950, and a water and sewer system opened in November, 1951.

The addition of a major industrial plant brought hundreds of jobs and thousands of people to town. The population shot up from 1,076 in 1951 to 2,582 in 1956.

More industries soon followed, including Peace River Glass in 1955, and DOW Chemical in 1959.

Fort Saskatchewan changed from being dependent on servicing the local farm community and on the jail for jobs, to an important industrial town.


Policing in the 50's


The Mounted Police Return On Horse and Motorcycle
Banff, Alberta


Fort Saskatchewan remained dependent on its own resources for law enforcement through the post-war period.

In the early 1950s the local police force still consisted of just one officer and his motorcycle. Former Police Commission chair Neville Parry remembers one officer, George Virenka; an ex-boxer.

A second officer was hired in 1953 as the impact of Sherritt began to be felt. Expansion of the local force continued, with the construction of a new fire hall and police detachment in 1958. Police and firefighters had been sharing space with town staff in the old town hall built in 1906.


Training Problems


The Mounted Police Return Neville Parry Part III
14 March 2004
Fort Saskatchewan, Aberta


The local police force kept growing as the town continued to expand through the 1960s. By 1971 Fort Saskatchewan had seven police officers and moved them into expanded quarters in the basement of a new town hall.

But there were problems.

Says Neville Parry: "All the little places around here did the same as we did. They hired these guys, I don't know what kind of training they had, but when we got bigger with Sherritt Gordon coming in here, these guys couldn't handle it."


A Crook Amongst Us


The Mounted Police Return Neville Parry 'One story...'
15 February 2004
Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta


A crisis in the town police department caused council to consider alternatives.

Says Neville Parry: "One story about the new policeman we hired. He went down south and robbed a bank.


The Mounted Police Return Neville Parry Part II
14 March 2004
Fort Saskatchewan, Aberta