Heather Dean

Heather Dean

Historic police charge books returned to VicPD after digital preservation

Victoria police leather-bound charge books from the 1800s have been scanned onto hard drives to preserve a piece of history.

Historic Victoria Police Department books from the 1800s have been digitally preserved to last for many more years to come, thanks to the Victoria Genealogical Society and the University of Victoria.

On Wednesday, UVic Libraries returned five leather-bound charge books to the Victoria Police Department after being in the university’s possession for the past few months.

“[The Genealogical Society] found out through their research that these log books were held by the police department and they identified it as an important project in terms of digitizing the books and making them accessible to a broader public online, but they didn’t have the expertise to do the digitization” said Heather Dean, associate director of special collections at UVic Libraries. “They were connected with the library; we have a whole unit that works on digitizing projects.”

Almost 2,000 pages were scanned one-by-one onto three hard drives; the Genealogical Society has begun indexing the charge book entries to improve online searching. The entries will be available on the university library website in the near future.

“We have a lot of faculty and students on campus who are interested in studying Victoria’s history, B.C.’s history, Canada’s history, and these really contribute to that,” said Dean.

The five books contain records from April 4, 1873 to Sept. 30, 1876.

“I had no idea we even had records that went back to this,” said Chief Constable Frank Elsner. “To have that as a permanent record for this organization and our community is amazing.”

Books beyond 1876 exist at the Victoria Police Department, and could be digitized in the future if the interest is there, said Susan Henderson, communication officer for UVic Libraries.

When Elsner started at the police force 30 years ago, he said they wrote in books similar to those. Now, every thing is recorded digitally.

“It’s amazing history, and we don’t want this record to disappear,” said Pat Acton, president of the Victoria Genealogical Society. “There is fascinating social history here.”

The books reveal how different some laws were in the 1800s compared to today. For example, an entry from April 7, 1873 describes a man named Charlie being charged for hitting someone in the face with a fish. Other charges include looking suspicious or riding a horse too quickly in town.

“If you’re wondering if you have a rogue in your family, it’s one way to [find out],” said Henderson.

Victoria Police Department Detective Constable Jonathan Sheldan said when he started at the department, there was an emphasis to throw away old books and documents such as these, which is no longer the case.

“I think we’ve got a reemphasis on preserving our link to the community,” said Sheldan.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Test positivity rates in Greater Victoria from April 23 to 29. (BC CDC data)
Leaked data shows View Royal top of COVID-19 list for Greater Victoria

View Royal mayor says week was a blip for the township, not the norm

A member of the Downtown Victoria Business Association Clean Team works along Fort Street. The team will be working weekends from May through September, providing seven day a week coverage. (Photo courtesy DVBA)
Downtown Victoria cleanup service expanded for spring, summer

Clean Team members to patrol sidewalks seven days a week through September

Robyn Sealy of Parks Canada and carver Charles Elliot look at the new interpretive display unveiled May 4 at SMONECTEN, the new name of the former McDonald Campground in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve just north of Sidney. (Parks Canada/Submitted)
Campground near Sidney renamed to recognize First Nations

SMONECTEN is new name of former McDonald Campground in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

This rendering shows the proposed warehouse for lands under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority near a Sidney residential neighbourhood. (York Reality/Submitted).
Sidney warehouse proposal receives more than 40 public feedback comments

Sidney has until May 11 to submit comments to Victoria Airport Authority

Carolyn West plans to run each of the Victoria Goddess Runs this year, in support of Victoria Women’s Transition House Society. (Courtesy Carolyn West)
Runner tackles solo Goddess Run to raise funds for women, children fleeing violence

Women’s Transition House Society named official cause for Goddess Runs

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike grounds Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward comes away with the puck after a battle along the boards with Grizzlies defenceman Jake Veilleux. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Victoria Grizzlies named Island Champions

Grizzlies edged Alberni Valley Bulldogs in back-to-back matches to claim title

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Most Read