From 1874 until 1882, patrols from Fort Macleod policed the Lethbridge area. In 1883, an outpost was established near the mine in the river valley, only to close that fall. It wasn't until 1885 that Corporal Eli Hodder and five men from C Division moved to Lethbridge permanently.
The following year saw many changes in Lethbridge. The men moved out of the old meat market building into a boarding house owned by the North Western Coal and Navigation Company. Inspector Joseph Howe and six more men took up residence, only to be re-assigned to Battleford two months later.
Inspector P. R. Neale soon took his place, along with the men of H Division. In another redeployment, Neale returned to Fort Macleod with H Division, to be replaced by Inspector H. D. Likely and 21 men from D Division. By late 1886, Lethbridge had as many men as Fort Macleod - 100 - and had become the headquarters for the region.
That fall, 14 acres were surveyed for new police barracks. This included men's quarters, a guard house, officers' homes, stables, blacksmith shop, storehouse, ice house and a corral. Plans were made to station 60 men and their horses there permanently.
The NWMP were kept busy dealing with liquor trafficking, drunkenness, disorderly conduct, horse stealing and cattle rustling. By 1894, the men were also responsible for collecting poll taxes, catching stray dogs, and issuing and collecting license fees.
When Lethbridge voted to have its own police force in 1902, the NWMP returned to their regular duties. As division headquarters, they became the centre of policing for a district stretching east to Medicine Hat, west to the St. Mary's River, south to the US border and north to Nanton.