The Alberta Government announced Friday they’ll be giving the Sheriff Highway Patrol more power to deal with traffic incidents on the province’s highways.
Starting July 1st, the 260 members of the Alberta Sheriffs will have the authority to investigate several different crimes, including impaired driving and criminal offences they encounter in the course of their duties.
Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, says this is to address frustrations by rural Albertans of longer response times. By having this expansion to the Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence Response initiative, it allows the RCMP to have more officers out attending to high priority crimes, Madu explains.
Earlier in 2021, fish and wildlife officers’ roles were also expanded so they can respond to requests from the RCMP to be first at the scene of an emergency in cases where they are closer than police, which might involve helping the police locate suspects or preserve a crime scene.
In total, 400 officers in both of these departments have now had their roles and authorities expanded.
The government says as they work on the RAPID program expansion, they’ll be holding a series of meetings with First Nations and Métis leaders to determine their interest and earn their support before expanding RAPID Response to their communities.