On December 18, 2015 the Sault Squires Police Cadet Corps will cease to exist.
Since its grassroots beginnings in 1985 the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service has been a strong supporter of the Sault Squires Police Cadets Corps.
The objective of the Squires was to promote good citizenship, basic understanding of what law enforcement is about, help its members develop good self-esteem and to be confident in their abilities. The Squires was a registered charity program designed for young persons between the ages of 10 to 18 years.
The Sault Squires Police Cadet Corps (also known as the Squires) gave youth the opportunity to become better citizens through leadership, public service and a greater appreciation for the vital work that law enforcement officials perform in our community.
Gary Groulx, a former Probation and Parole Officer, founded the Squires. He came up with the idea after learning a police officer had been shot and killed by a young person who simply wanted to kill a police officer. Gary wanted to build respect within the youth for authority figures in general, but police in particular.
Gary approached then Chief Bob McEwen who thought it was a good idea. The name for the Squires was suggested by retired member Constable Ron Shortt. In early meetings Gary proposed the name “Blue Knights” but that name was already in use. Constable Shortt suggested using the word Squire as that is a knight in training. Hence the Sault Squires Police Cadet Corps was born.
The first uniform consisted of a ball cap. As funds were raised Gary was able to purchase pants, shirts and crests. Gary’s wife Helene spent many hours sewing stripes on the pants.
The first Commanding Officer of the Squires was Gary Groulx who remained on the Board of Governors for the Squires. Retired Staff Sergeant Bob Armstrong and Sergeant Jim Egan were also commanding officers. Commander Officer Richard Latour was one of the longest serving commanding officers with over 10 years of dedication.
It is estimated that 750 to 1,000 youths went through the Squires program. Over the years several members of the Squires were hired and became police officers.
The public may very well remember seeing the Squires as they assisted drivers with parking at public events such as Rotary Fest, Christmas Cheer and the Kiwanis Community Theatre Centre.
The Squires was a registered charity and over the years funds were obtained by donations from organizations and service clubs. In December of 2006 a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation allowed the Squires to purchase a trailer so that equipment could be stored and taken to events. It was also used to purchase radios for communications as well as safety vests.
The Squires existed under Retired Chief Barry King and Retired Chief Robert Davies. Chief Keetch advised, “Sadly I did not have the opportunity to work with the Squires as the disbandment was underway upon my taking over as Chief of Police. To have had such a unique program for such long period of time is a testament to the dedication of Gary Groulx.”
With the disbandment of the Squires all of the assets will be given to the Navy League Cadets, who are also a registered charity. The Navy League Cadets is a program aimed at youth between the ages of 9 to 12 years. The Navy League Cadets also work with the principles of good citizenship, a sense of duty, self-discipline and respect for others. They do not receive any government funding. All funding is provided through the hard work of dedicated volunteers and the generous support of the community.
The Sault Squires Police Cadets Corps would like to thank the citizens who supported them over the years.