Back in Time: Flin Flon RCMP base made history

When the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company founded Flin Flon in 1927 to get at the large deposits of copper and zinc in the area, it was natural that law enforcement would arrive in the community soon after.

From 1927 to 1930, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would make their way to the community when there was a need for police to be there. The Manitoba Provincial Police would also help and were in charge on a full-time basis at that time.

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Things began to change in 1930 when it was decided that there would be two RCMP officers at a detachment on the Saskatchewan side of the community. Those constables, L.J. Hobbs and W.S. Roome, would serve out of a small building that belonged to the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company. Charged a rent of $20 per month, Hobbs and Roome supplemented the enforcement with members of the Manitoba Provincial Police on the Manitoba side of the town.

On April 1, 1932, the Manitoba Provincial Police were absorbed into the RCMP. It was at this point that the RCMP detachment transferred to the Manitoba detachment and began doing their patrols throughout the area. As well, the Community Development Company would engage Otto O. Klutz to serve as a fire chief, watchman and police officer. He would serve in this duty, with help from the RCMP, for a few years until the Municipal District of Flin Flon was formed.

Following the mining strike in 1934, the town council began to look at having the RCMP service the town. On March 16, 1935, the RCMP had taken over the police work of the municipal force. G. Smith, the former police chief of Flin Flon, was discharged and the office was left vacant. Assistant Police Chief Klutz continued to serve in his duties though, and on May 15, 1935, council agreed to continue paying his salary of $100 per month.

At this time, the RCMP were already handling law enforcement duties, but it would not be until the end of December when a contract would be formally signed. This gave Flin Flon the unique claim to fame as the first community in Canada to be policed completely by the RCMP.

At the time, there was one sergeant, three constables, 18 sled dogs and one sergeant constable at the detachment. By the end of the Second World War, there would be one sergeant, one corporal and six constables. Flash ahead to the 1970s, and the RCMP had two constables on rural duty, one staff sergeant, two corporals and nine constables in Flin Flon.

For many years, Bunkhouse Two of the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company would be the quarters for the detachment. Eventually, the records and effects were moved into the Municipal Hall where the detachment office and barracks were. The RCMP barracks would then remain on the upper floor of the Municipal Hall until 1963, when men were required to get their own accommodation when arriving in Flin Flon as officers. The commanding officer still had a suite of rooms on the second floor of the Federal Building provided for him.

The duties of the RCMP detachment would increase when parking meters were installed, and the highway link to the south from Flin Flon was opened in 1950. Adding in the incorporation of Creighton in 1952, and the duties of the officers and their patrol zone increased even more.

From those early years, with two officers working with the provincial police, to today, the RCMP has had a long and significant history in Flin Flon.

Suggestions for columns or questions? E-mail Craig at crwbaird@gmail.com. Listen to his podcast by searching for “Canadian History Ehx” on your podcast platform. Find his show on YouTube by searching for “Canadian History Ehx”.

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