By Cole Parkinson
The still relatively new community peace officer program is receiving a minor yet important face lift during the programs first few months.
Due to the program bringing in community volunteer enforcement under their wing, the CPO program is taking a different name, even though the name was always associated with the program.
“Quick little name change, we used to call ourselves the community peace officer program. We actually changed that to regional enforcement. It was always our name anyway but it in captures what we actually do,” said Kirk Hughes, development and community safety officer for the M.D. at the M.D.’s regular Nov. 28 meeting.
One of the newer programs the regional enforcement services is bringing under their banner is Range Patrol which looks to get its start very soon.
With the group hoping to get the program started as quickly as possible, they have seen good signs in regard to having enough volunteer support to get it up and running efficiently.
“Peace Officer Butler and myself are very active in that regard. We have a timetable, Butler has made contact with pretty much every community and we are going to solicit some volunteers to get this program running. If not before the new year, it will certainly be in the new year. We are very happy and the feedback has been very impressive. We actually have had a lot of volunteers interested in the program and rural crime watch is one of our topics moving into the new year that is a priority,” said Hughes.
The reason to incorporate a new name to the public is to show a separation between the different divisions within the regional enforcement services.
“Regional enforcement is not only just bylaw but our CPO’s as well as our new range patrol. Those volunteers will be under our umbrella and we don’t want any confusion between what a CPO is and what a volunteer is. We’re going to see that our new reference will be regional enforcement services and that will capture CPOs, bylaw, community range patrol and any other volunteers that we do have,” said Hughes.
Not only is important for the public to know the differences between the separations of the group but it is also beneficial for the M.D. councillors.
One councillor in particular was in favour of the different divisions because it will offer a better look at how the program is benefiting the community.
“I would say maybe in reporting, because there are a few different umbrellas, it would be nice to have them categorized so we know what impact is being done where. I think the breakdown of it is helpful for us to know how successful the program has been,” said Jennifer Crowson, councillor for Division 5.
While range patrol looks to be one of the next groups to join the CPOs, another established group may be joining them fairly shortly as well.
Taber Victim Services might be another wing of the regional enforcement services in fairly short order if everything goes according to plan.
“I spoke to Alf Rudd in regard to victim services and I think there is some progress being made there as well. CPOs don’t typically offer victim services however there have been times in car accidents or minor bylaws that we dealt with that it is an appropriate thing to do,” said Hughes. “We’re just trying to figure out the SOP (standard operating process) in regard to do that but there has been some progress on that as well.”
Council had questions on if the changes made to the name would have any impact on the existing CPO program.
While the name may have changed, things in regard to the CPOs will be relatively the same except for certain things.
“They are peace officers but within reference to reporting and public information we will refer to ourselves as Regional Enforcement Services,” said Derrick Krizsan, CAO for the M.D. of Taber.
While 2017 is close to wrapping up, the regional enforcement services program looks to keep rolling full steam ahead right into the coming new year.