Saskatchewan’s Highway Patrol has already responded to multiple 911 calls in the first three weeks of expanded duties.
The former Commercial Vehicle Enforcement group added a list of additional responsibilities to help the RCMP at the beginning of July. Some of these responsibilities include responding to 911 calls, arrest and detention powers, impaired driving and other commercial and private vehicle traffic violations, in conjunction with rural crime safety and prevention.
Since the inception of the new duties on July 1, the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol has responded to nine 911 calls. Brandy Leipei, the Communications Consultant with the Government of Saskatchewan, said it is too early to determine the nature of these calls or to determine where their efforts will be best utilized, but that it is a good start to assisting the RCMP.
“We have guys all over the province, so sometimes they are closer than the RCMP to respond to the call,” said Leipei in regards to creating a more efficient law enforcement base in the rural areas of Saskatchewan where there has been a need for some time.
In addition to preventing and responding to traffic violations and rural crime, the Highway Patrol has also been included in overseeing public traffic safety during large events. One such event was Country Thunder, which took place in our province mid-July. The Highway Patrol was present enforcing impaired driving.
It was earlier reported that the Highway Patrol will be introducing body-cams to record any activities and arrests by the Patrol, which will also be used for training scenarios for the group to learn how to better handle some situations.
All in all, it seems as though the transition has been a smooth one, yet it is too early to really get a handle on where and how they will be best utilized and if there will be any amendments to the original mandate down the line.
Leipei stated that they are looking to get more concrete numbers together and release an update in the next few weeks.