It's fun to learn more of his story, and the context. We're very lucky to have this recounting - I have read that "virtually no documentation was preserved for the MPP"...
The North-West Mounted Police were not the only officers who made life difficult for bad men in the Canadian West. Even before the Mounties arrived on the prairies, the newly formed province of Manitoba organized a small, but effective, police force. The Manitoba Provincial Police began in 1870 with nineteen men. It was operated out of an old Winnipeg post office that was converted to a police station and courthouse. A log house behind the building was used for a jail. The force was poorly funded, so the officers had to provide their own firearms. They had no standard uniform. Within a few years, the department dwindled to a mere eight men. Some constables were dismissed for inappropriate behavior, such as public drunkenness, others resigned to seek better paying employment!
In 1874, Richard Power, a twenty-three-year-old who had become an original member of the force at the age of nineteen, was made Head Constable - the equivalent of Chief of Police. The rapid decline in the force's number was only a part of the reason for this young man's promotion to such a position. Even before joining the MPP, he had allegedly served as a scout for the United States Cavalry. He was also a lieutenant in the Winnipeg militia. Power's contemporaries described him as "a fine looking man, magnificently proportioned, every inch a soldier with the courage that nothing could daunt. Power wore a Colt .45 with a nine-inch barrel, and a gunbelt that was always full of cartridges. Local newspapers called Power "a terror to evildoers." In A few short years, Power had shown himself to be a courageous and enthusiastic policeman. Some thought he might have been too enthusiastic. He had once been sharply reprimanded for shooting a Native during an arrest.
By the time Power took command of the Manitoba Provincial Police, Winnipeg had been incorporated as a city and had its own police department. That left the rest of Manitoba under the eyes of Power and his tiny department. Power strategically placed men in the more populous settlements outside Winnipeg; towns like Selkirk and Kildonan. He kept a few men with him at his headquarters in Winnipeg. Most Manitoba communities had to depend on special constables - civilian volunteers - to keep the peace. If there was any real trouble, Power could send one of his constables out to see to the matter. The policing situation in rural Manitoba was not unlike that of rural Ontario and other points east.
Manitoba, especially the country along the American border, was woefully under-policed, but the situation was same on the other side of the international line in the Dakota Territory. There was a sheriff in Pembina, just over the border, and another many miles away in Fargo. For those lawmen, just looking after their towns was a full-time job. They didn't have the resources, or manpower, to go chasing after the desperadoes who roamed the plains and hills of the Dakota country. Rustlers, gunmen, and other men on the dodge had only to keep out of the Sheriff's way to avoid arrest. With so much open country, that was not a hard thing to do. Moreover, American lawmen were often unwilling to apprehend fugitives wanted in Canada, unless there was a reward involved.