Peace Officer

 

Did You Know... Athabasca Bylaw Officer Dan Visser is in the process of upgrading to Peace Officer, a position that holds greater authority and responsibility.


 
Athabasca Bylaw Officer Dan Visser.  Dan is in the process of upgrading to Peace Officer, a position that will give him greater responsibility and more authority to enforce certain provincial statutes.


Peace Officer upgrade in process

The community based enforcement of certain laws and regulations is about to step up a notch in Athabasca. Bylaw Officer Dan Visser is in the process of upgrading to Community Peace Officer, a position that will empower him with greater authority and responsibility.

Peace Officers in the province serve under the Alberta Peace Officer act. They are not to be confused with Police Officers, who have a much wider range of authority. However, once Dan’s upgrade is complete, he will work cooperatively with local RCMP and will be able to deal with select issues that formerly may have required their time and attention.

“It will take some of the pressure off the RCMP with respect to less serious offences,” states Dan. “Especially areas of safety concern, like certain moving traffic violations, and certain violations in the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Act.”

Subject to the provincial guidelines and a “Memorandum of Understanding” developed in cooperation with Athabasca RCMP regarding jurisdiction, Dan’s duties may not change a great deal in the short term. Still, he welcomes the added responsibility and the broader range of local enforcement the position will allow over the long term.

“The position changes a little, but it’s not that different from what I’m doing now,” he says. “A Bylaw Officer only enforces municipal bylaws. A Peace Officer is given more authority to enforce certain specified provincial statutes.”

Preparations to make the shift to the Peace Officer position are continuing. Through the process, Dan is actively participating in policy-making that will help define his new role and responsibilities.

“It’s a good experience, to be part of that transition,” he explains, “to be involved in developing policies to do with traffic, for example, and the equipment to be used - the baton policy, for example.”

Dan has completed his basic Peace Officer training and has a few more supplementary courses planned. Some of the courses taken or planned include legal studies, conflict resolution and communications, Pressure Point Control Tactics with the emphasis on self-defence, and a two-day radar course.

 
Peace Officer position adds incentive

As more communities investigate the merits of employing a qualified Peace Officer, the position is gaining in popularity.

“A lot of communities are going to the Peace Officer position,” Dan confirms, adding that it can also serve as an incentive to attract interested candidates. When he considered coming to Athabasca to work for the Town he knew that the upgrade was being looked into.

Dan has been in the community since last September, coming from Slave Lake where he worked with Alberta Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture. He has been enjoying Athabasca’s good nature since arriving.

“The Athabasca area provides a lot of outdoor recreation opportunities; fishing, hunting,” he says. “It’s a nice small town, away from the hustle and bustle but still close enough to the city.”

Currently, Dan serves as Bylaw Officer for the Town four days a week and is contracted to the County of Athabasca one day a week.

 

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