“There’s a good opportunity for a peace officer vehicle that’s fully equipped and has just over 70,000 kilometres on it, for just over $10,000 — which we could pay for that quite easily in a two-month period,” said Director of Municipal Relations for the town Kalen Hastings. “Currently we don’t have any sort of means for enforcing traffic violations. This would really round out our public safety program and could include the traffic enforcement component to the department.” This will allow peace officers to work alongside the Lethbridge Regional Police Service, which already operates in town, assisting them with problem areas in school and playground zones, as well as Highway 845. The opportunity comes to the town by way of the Town of Chestermere, who recently decided cars were not the best for enforcement during the winter months and will be switching entirely to SUVs. “Research was done by administration and the public safety department (and includes information from) previous discussions when the public safety committee was active and we tossed the idea around then,” said Hastings of the decision. “The alternative is a brand new car for $50,000, which would take six months rather than two, so this is a good deal that fell across council’s lap.”
All the councillors, except Bill Chapman, agreed purchasing a used vehicle for $10,000 would be a good decision, both for the town and its residents. “(I don’t think this) is in the purview of the Public Safety Committee,” he said, adding at this time he envisioned more of a bylaw enforcement duty for peace officers. The motion to purchase the truck was however passed and following the necessary road tests and decal changes the Charger will be up and running soon. “It’s at the dealership, ready to go and fully-outfitted with all the necessary equipment. We will have to get inspections and proper decal so it will be a little while before it’s road-worthy in Coaldale,” Hastings said of the expected operation date for the vehicle. “Logistically, to fund it, we can give ourselves an internal loan and based on the enforcement schedule we came up with, a general guideline of three tickets per day, will more than pay for the cost of the vehicle.” The view of the Public Safety Committee in Coaldale is to take a balanced and proactive approach to enforcing safety within the community, with a three-pronged approach. First through bylaw enforcement and compliance by residents. Second by the educational/awareness campaign, which teaches citizens what bylaws say and working with them so they understand the legislation. Finally, traffic enforcement. A lot of times while issuing unsightly premises tickets, or patrolling for bylaw infractions peace officers will see motorists do things like blow a stop sign or speed, which they can now pursue after completing the Level One peace officer course.