Edmonton police release comic take on their 125-year history

Edmonton police release comic take on their 125-year history

The Edmonton Police Service's latest comic book hero is an Edmonton mayor — but it's not Don Iveson.

Matthew McCauley, the first mayor of Edmonton, is the focus of the fifth instalment in the Edmonton police comic series called Legacy of Heroes.

The latest comic marks the EPS's 125th anniversary as a police force, though in its early years it was known as the Edmonton Police Department.

"A lot of people were unaware of where the service came from," Jeff Awid, the comic's writer, told CBC Friday.

The story follows Mayor McCauley in 1892, just a few months into his first term as Edmonton's first mayor.

Edmonton's rival, South Edmonton (which would later become Strathcona), was trying to convince the federal government to move the Dominion Land Office from Edmonton to their town.

The office helped settle land in the Prairies and was operated by the federal government.

Word of the potential move spread quickly among the townspeople, and soon there were 500 people protesting outside the Edmonton office.

McCauley worried that, because the nearest RCMP detachment was in Fort Saskatchewan, the crowd may riot and cause destruction before police could contain it.

And so he proposed his own police service — and the Edmonton Police Department was born.

History through comics

For Awid and illustrator Jared Robinson, telling these stories to Edmontonians is important.

"In this day and age, we tend to be inundated with history from everywhere else," Awid said. "A lot of Edmontonians aren't aware of the rich history that's right here in the city."

"It's kind of cool to look back on the different events and people that have been pivotal to where we are today," Robinson added.

Awid and Robinson said telling the story through a unique medium like comics is rewarding in a few different ways.

"I think it's wonderful that the [Edmonton Police] Service is allowing us to share these stories, which are important to the culture of Edmonton," Awid said.

Both Robinson and Awid are already working on the next issue. Slated for release this fall, it's about Annie Jackson, the first female officer to work for the EPS.t

Robinson said the stories are inspiring for him and he hopes they are inspiring for Edmontonians, too.

"Our city has a kind of rich history and it just amps up the pride," he said.

"With 125 years, there's no shortage of stories," Awid added.