Peace officers lobby for more power

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Suppose a Town of High Prairie peace officer is driving along Highway 2 and a motorist speeds past him at 150 km/hr. The speeder is free to go because the peace officer has no authority to stop him.

However, that may change as a lobby effort is underway to give peace officers the power to stop such speeders.

And the effort has the full blessing of High Prairie town council.

Senior peace officer Alan Bloom told council at its June 25 meeting that his department can only enforce Traffic Safety Act violations on three-digit highways. Locally, it excludes Highway 2 and Highway 33.

Bloom says there are multiple issues, the most important being to stop dangerous situations before they happen.

Second, citizens see peace officers “ignoring” such speeders but not realizing there is nothing they can legally do.

“I can’t do anything, [even in dangerous situations],” said Bloom.

“I think this is a definite need for public safety. I think it’s a benefit for the general public.”

It didn’t take long for council to agree.

“I think it makes sense,” said Mayor Brian Panasiuk. “There is always a shortage of patrols out there.”

However, he added such enforcement should not go too far.

“I wouldn’t support it if it became a focus of your duties,” he told Bloom.

Bloom said that would not be the case.

“It’s there if we need it.”

Council agreed to send a letter of support to the Alberta Association of Community Peace Officers in support of their efforts to change the enforcement rules.

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