Province Rolls Out Community Safety Officer Program
December 1, 2014
Options to promote community safety just increased with the rollout of the Community Safety Officer (CSO) program.
“Under this program, any Saskatchewan community can apply to hire Community Safety Officers,” Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell said. “This will allow communities to address low-risk to harm, high-priority policing needs.”
CSOs will help meet needs including traffic and liquor enforcement, bylaw enforcement, and serve as a crime prevention community liaisons. Introducing CSOs will free up the RCMP and municipal police to focus on higher impact needs in participating communities.
SUMA and SARM collaborated with police and officials in developing this program designed to enhance police services in Saskatchewan.
“Our membership has expressed a need for an alternative enforcement option,” SARM Acting President Ray Orb said. “The CSO program will be a feasible way for rural municipalities to address some priority policing needs they have identified, especially those in the high-growth areas of the province.”
“This will be another tool for urban governments to enhance their bylaw and public safety enforcement – from the early adopters, such as North Battleford, to our towns, villages, and all urban municipalities,” Ron Osika said on behalf of SUMA President Debra Button. “We all want safer communities and this program can help us achieve that goal.”
The pilot program implemented by North Battleford this summer will serve as the model for other Saskatchewan communities.
“The term Community Safety Officer goes beyond just the enforcement component,” North Battleford Mayor Ian Hamilton said. “This program allows us to engage and work collectively with many stakeholders in order to foster a positive community image and reputation toward a safe community.”
A six-week curriculum for CSOs is being developed at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. The first class of recruits should begin training in February 2015, with graduates expected to be working by mid-2015.
“Saskatchewan Polytechnic prides itself on delivering applied, employer-driven and student-focused education,” Saskatchewan Polytechnic Pesident and CEO Dr. Larry Rosia said. “Through consultation and our strength in applied learning, we willl develop curriculum that equips grads to meet needs in their municipalities from day one.”
The expansion of this program is in line with the ministry’s Building Partnerships to Reduce Crime initiative, which works with communities to find new approaches to prevent crime in Saskatchewan.
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