The second phase of the Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence (RAPID) Response initiative is underway with 260 Sheriff Highway Patrol officers now having the authority to investigate a wider range of traffic-related occurrences.
The second phase of the RAPID Response initiative will enhance traffic safety and impaired driving enforcement on provincial highways, giving RCMP officers an opportunity to focus on other criminal matters.
“We are taking action to address the very real issue of crime in rural Alberta. We know Albertans have been frustrated with response times in rural areas, and we are committed to making sure they feel safe and protected in their communities. More boots on the ground means authorities can respond more quickly when Albertans need them. It will also deter crime and make our highways and communities safer,” said the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, Kaycee Madu.
Government officials anticipate the RAPID Response will help reduce response times by expanding the roles and authorities of 400 peace officers in Sheriff Highway Patrol and Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services.
Earlier this year, fish and wildlife officers’ roles were also expanded so they can 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.
RAPID Response currently covers most areas of rural Alberta policed by the RCMP.
The government is 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.