45th Anniversary Blog Series Part 1: VPF in the 1900s – Vancouver Police Foundation
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45th Anniversary Blog Series Part 1: VPF in the 1900s

Building a Safer Vancouver Together

This year we are proud to be celebrating our 45th anniversary. That’s 45 years of serving this great city and supporting the goals of the Vancouver Police Department as they go above and beyond. While we do not fund essential policing services, we do eagerly seek and fund initiatives that help the VPD save lives and prevent crime at a grassroots level as well as develop and execute meaningful community outreach programs.

Due to the nature of their work, VPD officers often see the gaps and needs in our neighbourhoods before anyone else. They turn to the Vancouver Police Foundation for funding to launch and operate programs that fill these gaps. These officers go well beyond the scope of their job and typically manage these programs on a voluntary basis—after shifts or on days off. They are making a real difference for people of all ages in all neighbourhoods in Vancouver.

With more than 220 programs funded in the last 45 years, let’s first take a look at some of the highlights from the 1900s:

 1976 – Vancouver Police Foundation Established

On August 12, 1976 the previously named Vancouver Police Board Education and Research Foundation was renamed to become the Vancouver Police Foundation by a group of local business and community leaders. At that time, the Foundation consisted of it’s original founder Dr. Joseph Cohen, Chairman; Mr. Ronald Cliff, Vice-Chairman; 14 Trustees; Chief Constable Terry Blythe, VPD representative and member of the Board of Directors; and Inspector Wayne Holland, who was the first Executive Director for the Foundation. It is the second oldest police foundation in the world, after the NYPD Foundation.


1979 – Project SAVE

Prior to the internet and social media, the VPD needed help distributing safety information to the public. The VPF was able to fund portable display modules and materials that officers could use to educate the community about crime prevention concepts and how to combat shoplifting and vandalism.

1979 – Specialized Training for Evidence Collection

The VPF helped fund specialized bloodstain identification training and new state-of-the-art equipment to collect evidence from crime scenes. This technology has now become standard in many investigations.

1984 – Crime Stoppers Established in Canada

The widely known “Crime Stoppers” initiative launched in Canada right here in Vancouver thanks to seed money from the VPF. Previously it had been established only in the USA. Since 1984, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers has grown to serve more than 28 Metro communities and the tip line has led to more than 8,200 people arrested plus more than half-a-billion-dollars-worth of property and drugs seized. The VPF and Crime Stoppers also collaborated on VPD-led distraction theft campaign in 2021.


1986 – Vancouver Police Museum Opened

In an effort to recognize both the VPD’s 100th anniversary and also to celebrate the proud history of the VPD, the VPF provided the seed funding to establish the Vancouver Police Museum which is still located in the Old Coroner’s Court Building. It is the oldest police museum in North America and features several exhibits and more than 20,000 rare artefacts.


1986 – Multicultural Safety Brochures

The VPD is continuously looking for ways to improve its capabilities and practices to provide citizens of Vancouver with the highest level of service. In 1986, the VPF funded a series of crime prevention booklets in different languages to better reach the multicultural communities in the city.

1990 – Victim Services Teddy Bears

An unfortunate reality for the VPD’s Victim Services Unit is they often work with children who have experienced or witnessed incredible trauma. Supplying the VSU staff with teddy bears to help comfort these children not only helps to somewhat ease their emotions, but also demonstrates to the children that the police are there to help and care for them.


 1994 – Traffic Safety Vests & Parent Parking Patrol Manual

 The VPD has always worked closely with the community, and especially schools. The School Safety Patrol, formerly known as the Community Road & Education Safety Team (CREST), works with Vancouver elementary schools and community organizations to promote traffic safety. Back in 1994, the Foundation provided funding for a new school safety program that saw the creation and printing of a Parent Parking Patrol Manual and the purchase of 279 safety vests. In its first year, over 200 parents from 32 Vancouver schools participated in this program.

1997 – VPD Student Challenge

For the first time in 1997, youth in Vancouver got the chance to participate in a youth police academy known as the VPD Student Challenge Program. Over a period of 8 days during spring break, dozens of grade 11 and 12 students participate in training in a variety of sections including legal studies, firearms training, investigation and patrol, specialty squads, and physical training. To date, more than 800 students have participated.


1999 – Canine Unit Body Armour

 The VPD’s Canine Unit is the oldest municipal dog unit in Canada and these police service dogs have always been valuable team members in helping fight crime. In 1999 the Foundation funded the purchase of two sets of dog body armour for the Canine Unit. Today, all 15 VPD canines are also provided with custom fitted ballistic vests, as the safety and well-being of all the dogs in the unit is paramount.

The Vancouver Police Foundation supports programs and initiatives that fall under one of four pillars: Youth Programs, Mental Health & Addictions, Community Outreach & Engagement, and Technology & Special Equipment. You can help build a safer Vancouver by donating to the Vancouver Police Foundation.