Thomas H. CONSTABLE
Cochrane - Oct 15, 1926
The Constable story starts out in the town of Kapuskasing, 504 miles north of Toronto.
His policing career began when he was appointed the first chief of police and only police officer for Kapuskasing on November 21, 1921. In 1921, the OTA was placed under the authority of the commissioner of the OPP but reported to the liquor board. In 1926, OTA officers became members of the OPP. Constable carried out his duties for another eighteen months in Kapuskasing and then moved down the line to Cochrane to take a promotion. On May 23, 1925, he became an OTA inspector in charge of other agents working under the act. In his new location, he found his job busy and far more challenging than his first policing job.
On October 15, 1926, after spending a day in provincial court and after having dinner, Tom Constable headed to the town hall to take part in a local band practice. The Cochrane band was very popular and practice that evening went past eleven o’clock.
Tom and his local bank manager friend walked partway home together, then the officer walked the rest of the way to his Second Street home alone.
Some time around eleven-thirty p.m., as he was nearing his own front door, an unknown gunman stepped from the shadows and shot him three times. Mrs. Constable joined a neighbour in responding to the sound of gunfire and rushed to the stricken man.
The thirty-six year old officer had taken one shot through the neck and was unable to speak, so no one knew if he had seen his killer.
A suspect was charged in the capital crime. He was found to be have acted to protect liquor interests but it was never established whether he had acted alone or on behalf of others.
The suspect was tried in the district courthouse in Cochrane and found guilty on April 1, 1929. Efforts to gain a reprieve of sentence were unsuccessful. The murderer of Tom Constable was hanged at Haileybury jail on July 19, 1929.
Ironically, the OTA was repealed not long after the provincial officers death. In 1927, alcohol once more flowed freely in the province.