The ten municipalities in the then County of Peel were officially whittled down to two cities and a town on the first day of 1974. The newly formed Peel Region took over from the county and the cities of Mississauaga and Brampton and the Town of Caledon became the lower level municipal government.
The five local police forces – Brampton, Chinguacousy and Mississauga townships, Port Credit and Streetsville – were amalgamated to form Peel Regional Police (PRP).
Peel's population grew by some 25,000 people that first year and the region has maintained an average growth rate of 27,000 people in the four decades since it was formed. To keep pace, PRP has grown into the third largest municipal police force in Canada.
The service has worked with the region to keep costs under control by reducing duplication of services and ensuring it is meeting community needs in the most cost effective way.
Not all of Peel Region went along with the new police service. Despite regionalization the province continued to pay for highways, therefore Ontario Provincial Police patrolled provincial highways throughout municipalities, including in the Town of Caledon.
Caledon's population was only about 19,000 at the time and it didn't make sense to have the OPP patrol the highways and PRP patrol the side roads of a large, sparsely populated area made up of small hamlets and vast agricultural areas. Caledon council decided it would be more economical and effective to stick with the police officers who already knew the community.
Caledon became one of the OPP's first contracts with a municipality and is currently its largest. This has created a unique reporting structure; it reports to the town, when then relays that information to Peel Region. This makes for an interesting dynamic as the OPP collaborates with PRP and Peel District School Board, which contributed to Caledon’s status as Canada’s safest community from 2009 to 2011.
Priorities and programs
Caledon's population has grown to almost 60,000 people and the OPP has evolved to keep pace. It consolidated three locations and 108 officers into a new state-of-the-art detachment last year to better meet the needs of the growing area.
The detachment's community response unit attends events throughout the community. The auxiliary program is also very active; its 26 members dedicate more than 4,500 hours each year and some have been with the program for more than 20 years.
Caledon population is projected to double by 2031, which will require shifts in policing. Caledon OPP is beginning the process by introducing a full time dedicated bicycle patrol unit. The six officers will patrol from May through September to promote visibility and increase interactions with the public.
The detachment is also working to improve relations with youth, enhance partnerships with PRP and continue its strong committment to traffic enforcement.
The OPP's began its Road Watch program in Caledon in 1995. The program aimed to use education and enforcement to improve road safety by encouraging citizens to take on the responsibility of reporting aggressive driving. Police and residents worked together to reduce deaths and injuries on area roads. Road Watch has been adopted in 40 other communities throughout Ontario.
Another initiative, Project Ten-Four, began in June 2013 and ran for a week. The name stands for a main area road (Highway 10) and the four communities – Peel, Caledon, Shelburne and Owen Sound – that it runs through. The name also serves to acknowledge the numerous collisions that occur along the highway.
Each detachment and police service worked together to increase enforcement on the stretch of Hwy. 10 running through their area. Colisions were reduced by 50 per cent during the week the program ran.