On January 1, 1971, following the amalgamation of the 14 municipal police departments and the formation of the York Regional Police, the responsibilities of policing were assumed by the Region. With this change, came fear that regionalization would result in loss of jobs, rank, salary and benefits for the employees of the municipal police forces. To meet those concerns, members of the County police forces established York Regional Police Association (YRPA) in 1971.
Representatives from YRPA negotiated a new working agreement with the Regional Police Commission, and as a result, no jobs were lost due to Regionalization. Every person who was a member of one of the 14 municipal police forces on the 6th day of May, 1970, and continued to be employed by their force, became a member of the Regional Police Force on January 1, 1971. All those who wished to join the new police force had a job waiting for them.
In April 1973, YRPA made an historic purchase. The Association bought an 81 acre farm from Donald Stephens on Bayview Avenue, just south of Mulock Drive in Newmarket. In 1802, Sadrick Stephens settled on the farm as a tenant and the land remained in the Stephens family for six generations. Richard Lippincott (1745-1826) was the original owner after he was awarded 3,000 acres in Vaughan and Whitchurch Townships by the British for his service in the American Revolution. Lippincott sold the land to Shadrick Stephens in 1809.
The Association now owned more land than any other police association in Ontario. They also held the largest mortgage. The land had two buildings on it, a house which was rented out and a tool shed. “The Shed” was converted into a temporary clubhouse. The Association’s immediate plans for the property included construction of a baseball diamond and soccer field.
During the summer of 1984, the Association put an addition on “The Shed” and held a memorable Grand Opening Celebration. Since then, the Stonehaven property has developed to include an Association building, three baseball diamonds, volleyball court and soccer field.
FULL TIME REPRESENTATION FOR OUR MEMBERS
In the early 1990s, the original Stephens farmhouse became the Association’s offices. Paul Bailey became the Association’s first full-time President and Fred Stojanovic became the first full-time Vice President. Previously, YRPA Executive positions were only part-time. It was a difficult task fulfilling a full-time job and following the mandate of the police force, while also acting as an Association Executive to settle issues and conflicts for members.
ADVOCATING FOR ENHANCED TRAINING
On June 26, 1996, the Lieutenant Governor in Council directed that a public inquiry be held, and a commission was issued appointing the Honourable Fred Kaufman, as Commissioner under the designation “The Commission on Proceedings Involving Guy Paul Morin.” The Order in Council directed the Commission determine why the investigation into the death of Christine Jessop and the proceedings which followed resulted in the arrest and conviction of an innocent person, and to make recommendations for change to prevent future miscarriages of justice. During the public inquiry, YRPA hired their own lawyer to express serious concerns that the commitment, backed by financial resources, shown in Durham to enhanced training and quality assurance for Durham officers had not been shown in York Region. YRPA was praised for raising these concerns, which resulted in changes to the training future members of York Regional Police received.
SUPPORTING OUR COMMUNITIES
Over the last 50 years, our uniformed and civilian members have proudly supported many charitable causes and helped to give back to the communities we serve. Our legacy of supporting Special Olympics Ontario was first started by YRPA member Detective Constable Robert Plunkett who served as the Games Manager in 2000. Tragically, in 2007, Detective Constable Robert Plunkett was killed in the line of duty while attempting to effect an arrest in the City of Markham. The YRPA members have chosen to honour Rob’s memory, his passion for golf, and the Special Olympics by hosting a Golf Tournament in his name. Since 2007, the Annual Rob Plunkett Memorial Golf Classic has donated over $95,000 to Special Olympics Ontario in Rob’s name.
In July 2013, York Region was fortunate to be the host of the Olympic Summer Games and YRPA played an important role as official games sponsor and donated $50,000 to assist in making the games a success and many of our members donated their time to assist with the event.
Since 2012, the YRPA Memorial Golf Tournament has raised much-needed funds to support the Salvation Army Central York Region to help with the costs of food bank and feeding programs, clothing and furniture assistance, counselling, social services, rehabilitation, housing and shelters, and programs for children and youth. In lieu of last year’s Annual Memorial Golf Tournament, the YRPA made a $5,000 donation to support Salvation Army Central York Region’s organizational services. Over the last seven years, YRPA has donated over $60,000 to the Salvation Army Central York Region.
YRPA is also a proud supporter of Wounded Warriors, a national charity supporting ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans, first responders and their families. In 2018, YRPA donated $50,000 to York Regional Police’s first-ever To Serve and Savour event to benefit Wounded Warriors Canada and their mental health resources.
We are thankful all our members for assisting us in being able to support our communities and making a positive impact through our giving.
CELEBRATE WITH US
In 1971, approximately 200 of our members served 169,000 York Region residents, and today our 2,400 members proudly serve 1.2 million residents in one of Canada’s fastest-growing and most diverse communities. Since then, YRPA has and continues to be dedicated to serving the women and men that protect the communities of York Region.
As we mark this milestone, we will be looking back and celebrating our achievements, our members, and our past leaders who have contributed to our success. We look forward to another great 50 years ahead and building on the legacy of our past leaders.
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