North Battleford now has a full complement of Community Safety Officers (CSO) on the roads now that a vacant position has been filled.
James Fudge was recently appointed to the role, which was announced at city council's recent meeting. Fudge, who previously left, recently returned to the position. There are now six officers.
CSOs are essentially municipal bylaw enforcement officers with special constable status.
The city’s CSOs were granted increased responsibilities in June, 2017. CSOs can now take on more follow-up work related to low-risk offences, which in turn would help free up the Battlefords RCMP officers' time so they could work on more serious investigations and crimes in-progress.
"Statistically, we have seen a little bit of referrals from the RCMP to Community Safety Officers," Mayor Ryan Bater said following this week's council meeting. "I think that their presence is undeniable within the city. The city residents recognize the uniform presence throughout North Battleford. That's really what residents are looking for — that increased presence.
"The efforts will obviously be ongoing. The partnership with the RCMP is absolutely critical to that," he said.
The city’s CSOs have the authority to issue tickets for traffic violations, and investigate certain reduced-risk, not-in-progress Criminal Code offences, such as property theft under $5,000. They are responsible for enforcing municipal bylaws and provincial legislation and regulations.
According to the City of North Battleford, The CSO program represents part of the city's Community Safety Strategy. The CSO program was started in 2014 through the city in partnership with the province.
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