Tuesday, August 11, 2009  
   Volume 79 - Issue 32 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“I don’t care what they propose, I’m going to oppose it.”
- Councillor Ian MacLeod  
- on council’s dealings with 
Spray Lake Sawmills 

 

 
Enhanced policing –– heralded as the solution to the community’s ongoing bylaw enforcement problems, this partnership between the municipality and the RCMP went quickly from proposal to reality earlier this year.
Officially starting on July 1, the position immediately became mired in uncertainty over whether or not it was what the municipality desired. On Tuesday, August 4, two weeks after council discussed the matter in-camera with the RCMP, the debate began in open council about whether or not to cancel the agreement, eliminate the position, and go a different route entirely.
Enhanced policing, at its core, is an RCMP officer paid for by the municipality, complete with a police car, administrative support, and full training. The position would provide focused, extra law enforcement in the Pass, generating ticket revenue for the municipality. But it came with a catch that council was apparently not aware of.
Though in theory the officer would be a replacement of the bylaw officer position, which has been filled inconsistently and at much expense over the past several years, the enhanced policing officer would not deal with bylaws that did not have their basis in the criminal code and the laws of Alberta.
This means that the new officer would not deal with areas such as long grass or community standards. Instead the position would focus on areas such as traffic enforcement on main streets and off-highway vehicle infractions, among others.
 
Council split along familiar lines over the desiribility of continuing the program, which costs approximately $125,000 a year, compared to the most recently yearly bylaw officer budget of $95,000.
“I don’t like this,” said Councillor Ian MacLeod, opening debate. “I think we should run from this as fast as we can.” He said that he felt the things the enhanced officer would do should be done by provincially-paid RCMP officers already.
“I have a feeling this member will be doing more RCMP duties than municipal duties,” agreed Councillor David Cole. He suggested increasing a bylaw officer budget to $125,000 and trying to attract someone who would stay longer.
Councillor Larry Mitchell argued that increasing the wages for a bylaw officer would not remove training costs that have been incurred by every bylaw officer. With no bylaw officer now or in the near future, he said, having the RCMP giving extra enforcement to some areas would be better than the status quo.
Councillor Gary Taje noted that increased patrols from an enhanced officer could help with vandalism problems, and said that there are a lot of traffic complaints in the Pass. Enforcing the off-highway vehicle bylaw is important too, he said.
“Someone has to be able to enforce the regulations,” said Councillor Taje. “Why we wouldn’t be looking at increased enforcement in these areas, I can’t understand.”
Councillor Dean Ward spoke against continuing the program. “The minute we were clear this post would not enforce municipal bylaws,” he said, “[I believed] we’ve got to look at another alternative.”
... for the full story, see the August 11 issue of the Pass Herald.
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   Volume 79 - Issue 32 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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