Fish and wildlife officers can now help RCMP with emergency and high priority calls

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As part of the provincial government’s Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence (RAPID) Response initiative, Alberta’s fish and wildlife officers are now available to help the RCMP answer emergency and high-priority calls when requested.

The launch of RAPID Response on April 1 puts 140 more peace officers on guard for rural Albertans when they need help from law enforcement, reads an April 1 Alberta government news release.

“Rural Albertans told us loud and clear that it can take too long for help to arrive in their communities,” said Kaycee Madu, Alberta’s justice minister and solicitor general.With RAPID Response, highly trained and professional peace officers will work across rural Alberta to answer the call when police need help to save precious minutes in an emergency.”

RAPID Response will help authorities arrive at the scene of an emergency more quickly by giving peace officers in the Alberta Sheriffs, which includes Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services, the ability to respond to a wider range of calls, reads an April 1 Alberta government news release.


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Under RAPID Response, fish and wildlife officers are able to respond to requests from the RCMP to be first at the scene of an emergency in cases where they are closer than the police. Fish and wildlife officers will also respond to RCMP requests for backup, which could involve helping the police locate suspects or preserve a crime scene.

Communications officers at the Alberta Sheriffs dispatch centre will also play a vital role in RAPID Response, by ensuring a reliable link with the RCMP when the two agencies respond to an incident together, says the province.

Preparations are also underway for members of the Sheriff Highway Patrol to perform RAPID Response functions later this year. Approximately 260 traffic sheriffs are being trained to investigate a wider range of calls, including impaired driving.

Giving traffic sheriffs the authority to handle more incidents on provincial highways will allow the RCMP to leave more officers on patrol and available to respond to higher-priority criminal matters, reads the news release.

RAPID Response currently covers most areas of rural Alberta policed by the RCMP. The provincial government says it is also holding a series of meetings with First Nations and Métis leaders to determine their interest and earn their support before expanding RAPID Response to their communities.

But in an April 9 news release, the Alberta Union of Public Employees say the fish and wildlife officers need to be paid “appropriately” for taking on the new responsiblities.

Since the April 1 announcement. the Facebook page of the Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Service has “overflowed” with comments calling for more protections and pay raises for the officers, reads the AUPE news release.

“More Albertans slammed the Government of Alberta for its careless approach to the province’s new Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defense (RAPID) Response this past week, adding to a chorus of people who are shocked by the UCP’s lack of public consultation in developing the emergency squad,” reads the Friday AUPE release.

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