In the early twentieth century, policing was an immature occupation dominated by chiefs who fought to maintain control during an era of rapid change. By contrast, politicians and civic innovators sought to mould police forces in their vision, often against the wishes of the chief. As a result, rank-and-file police officers were confined to an ancillary role, their identity largely denuded. The unionization of regular police officers was a response to these conditions. This article analyzes the Saint John Police Force between 1910 and 1920 to explore how these tensions were inscribed on a Maritime city.