By Cole Parkinson
Since the inception of the Municipal District of Taber community peace officer program in 2017, the group has been influential for many other services located in southern Alberta municipalities.
In their third year, the M.D. CPOs are once again bringing their methods to other municipalities.
“We’re one of the only peace officer programs that is lucky enough to have a dispatch centre and that’s Taber police. Other communities in our neighbourhood want what we have so they have approached chief (Graham) Abela to see if they can buy into the program for iNet and RMS,” explained Kirk Hughes, M.D. CPO sergeant and director of community safety, at council’s regular meeting on Nov. 10.
While discussions are just in the preliminary stages, TPS has been receptive to expanding past the M.D. of Taber.
The benefit of adding other CPO forces would be beneficial for not only the CPOs themselves but also the communities in which they serve, according to Hughes.
“Thankfully, chief Abela is pretty good at handling these types of requests and he’s done a good job of building some capacity. I suspect what you are going to see in the next little while is a lot of different community peace officer programs all on the same channel and on the iNet system working together. It will probably be the first regional concept in the area. So instead of just having two CPOs driving around, you potentially could have 10 or more which is positive because there’s a safety factor. We would know where each of us are and we can do a lot more joint force operations together which I think brings benefit to everyone. We’re very excited about that.”
The M.D. CPO’s have also been busy with Joint Force Operations (JFO) over the past several months. Council questioned what exactly was entailed in a JFO CPOs participate in.
“A joint force operation is when we combine our resources with other provincial or municipal assets. A very good example of joint force operations that occur around here are mostly with weights and measures and truck inspections. On our local haul roads that we border with municipalities, for example, Vulcan County or Lethbridge County, it’s always best if two peace officers work together in that situation because if they are coming in or out of Lethbridge County or in and out of the M.D. of Taber, they’re on theirs and our haul roads. So we join forces in order to make it a little bit safer and to be more consistent on how we enforce regulations on each side of the border. Another example of joint forces would be the Taber and District Health Foundation (concert). Taber police has requested us to assist them and we assist them so it’s joint forces,” answered Hughes. “We do try to stay in our boundaries and we are in a unique position because CPO (Henry) Peters is highly sought after as an instructor for weights and measures.”