1899: Retirement of police chief means a new expense

As well as advocating for a pension for a longtime police chief, the Victoria paper stressed that a new Chinuk Wawa interpreter would need to be hired to replace him.


Shepard and his officers, early 1890s (image credit: Victoria Police on Twitter)

This was at the turn of the century, and it goes to show us yet again that the Jargon remained the main vehicle of communication between Native and Newcomer well after BC’s frontier era.

Editorial – Chief of Police…[Henry] Shep[p]ard will retire from office…he has been 23 years in the service of the city, at a salary that has not averaged $100 a month. He is advanced in years and can hardly hope successfully to embark in any new line of work. That he has not been able to save enough out of his pay to live upon is what everyone would expect. That he should be sent adrift in his old age without any resources would be unjust. No man who has worked for his fellow citizens for nearly 25 years ought to be dismissed in his old age without some provision being made for him.

During the years that he has been at the head of the police Department, Mr Sheppard has, in addition to his other duties, acted as Chinook interpreter and in many cases as prosecuting officer. In these capacities he has saved the citizens a good deal of money. This year there have been nearly 100 cases in which he has acted as interpreter. When he is unable to act the fee to an interpreter is $2.50, which is certainly not unreasonable. After he retires from the position the city will be to the expense of from $200 to $500 a year to pay for an interpreter, unless the incoming chief happens to be able and willing to speak Chinook…

[Victoria (BC) Colonist, 1899-12-12, p. 4]

What do you think?