Nelson Education

Desmond Rowland

The Law Enforcement Handbook was first published in 1983. Twenty-five years later, the book, now in its fourth edition, remains a bestseller, used by police services, commercial security companies, and law enforcement studies programs across North America.

This latest edition is a tribute to the memory of Superintendent Desmond Rowland and a testament to his remarkable career as a police officer. It has been updated by Des’s original co-author, James Bailey, and his son, Detective Stephen Rowland.
Photo of Desmond taken 1954 Royal Ulster Constabulary

Born to a family of ten kids in the small town of Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland in 1936, Des Rowland joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary (now the Police Service of Northern Ireland) at the age of 18. In addition to normal patrol duties, he served with a police paracommando unit on the border with the Republic of Ireland, which came under frequent attack by terrorists.

This experience was in sharp contrast to his subsequent police service in Bermuda, where he joined the colonial police force in 1959. “There was sunshine, very little crime, and we didn’t even carry weapons,” he once said in a newspaper interview. “It was like a vacation” in comparison with his experience in Northern Ireland, he added.

Photo of Desmond (left) taken 1954 Royal Ulster Constabulary

 


Desmond with his troop mates stationed in Belcoo, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Photo 1955

During that period, he met Stephanie, a young Canadian woman working as a hairdresser at the Elbow Beach Hotel.  They married in Bermuda, and in 1961 moved to Stephanie’s former hometown of Cooksville, Ontario. Des joined the Toronto Township Police Force, and made the transition from colonial to rural policing.

Photo of Des (on right) Bermuda Police taken 1960

 

Photo of Des Bermuda Police taken 1960
Photo of Des upon joining the Toronto Township Police Force 1961

“From a job standpoint, in those days, police work was pretty humdrum,” he said. “Farmers and local people would call us to chase a skunk or other animals from their properties. A robbery was almost unheard of. “

Photo of Des (left) upon joining the Toronto Township Police Force 1961

As the area became increasingly urbanized with the growth of Mississauga and its amalgamation into the Region of Peel, Des rose through the ranks. When Peel Regional Police was formed in 1974 he had already demonstrated his policing skills as a patrol officer, detective and leader, and was assigned to one of the toughest jobs: commander of Regional Special Services, the investigative division that included the homicide, morality, fraud, intelligence and auto theft squads


Graduated from the FBI Academy 1974

Graduated from the FBI Academy 1974

During his stay at the Academy, he roomed with a polygraph operator, an experience which eventually resulted in Peel becoming the first municipal police service in Ontario to use this vital tool in criminal investigations. This initiative led to the clearance of many serious crimes, including several homicides that might have otherwise gone unsolved.

In 1980, he was appointed Chief Investigator of the Mississauga Railway Accident Inquiry, which was created in the wake of the largest peacetime evacuation of a civilian population ever undertaken. In later years, he also served as commander of the division covering the Toronto International Airport, Canada’s busiest, prior to his appointment as commander of the Peel Regional Police division for the city of Brampton.

Photo of Des (right) taken 1979 Mississauga Railway Accident

One of his proudest achievements in that post was the 100% arrest rate that was achieved in the 55 homicide cases he directed or personally investigated.

“It was an amazing record,” he said, “but during that era we could concentrate on each case and spend a lot of time chasing leads. In addition, our detectives were extremely persistent and topnotch investigators”.

Lester B. Pearson International Airport (Guarding then Sarah, Duchess of York and Prince Andrew, Duke of York)

Photo of Des taken 1979 Mississauga Railway Accident

Lester B. Pearson International Airport (Guarding then Sarah, Duchess of York and Prince Andrew, Duke of York)


 Superintendent Desmond Rowland guarding her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Lester B. Pearson International Airport 1984.

Bachelor of Arts degree from Wilfred Laurier University


Bachelor of Arts degree from Wilfred Laurier University.


Des at his retirement, speaking to family, friends and co workers expressing his gratitude for their support over his many years in law enforcement. Photo October 1994.

During his police service, Des earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wilfred Laurier University through part-time studies. After his retirement became a popular and highly respected professor of law enforcement studies at Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Oakville, Ontario.

Des died suddenly in 1998 from pancreatic cancer. Des is survived by his wife Stephanie, son Stephen, daughter Catherine, and five grandchildren.


Read The Foreword By Julian Fantino
Former Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police

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