Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to pay tribute to the Hamilton Police Service, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary.
It was on March 11, 1833 that the newly elected board of police in Hamilton took the momentous step of hiring John Ryckman as Hamilton's first paid law enforcement official. There is an unbroken line leading to today's Hamilton Police Service, a lineage unparalleled by any other police agency in Canada.
It is particularly fitting that in this anniversary year, the Hamilton Police Service received its Grant of Arms and Flag from the Queen. Last Monday night's anniversary celebration included the unveiling of the Grant of Arms and the consecration of the flag as an official police colour.
However, as the only women MP from Hamilton, I want to acknowledge another special milestone within the Hamilton Police Service. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the hiring of the first female police officers. Today, there are 148.
As female officers, they face many of the same challenges as other women do in their workplaces. However, if last December's fundraiser is any indication, their courage, determination and support for each other cannot help but ensure continued advances for women in law enforcement.
I salute the women and, indeed, all members of the Hamilton Police Service.