Beaton recommended authorization, by council, for the county Community Peace Officer (CPO) to utilize emergency responses under the following circumstances including injury collisions and providing backup to police or peace officers, where there is a reasonable belief the officer is in serious danger and the peace officer is or may be the closest assistance available.
Other circumstances, according to the report, also includes attending a fire or medical emergency at the specific request of fire or the EMS department and any emergency situation if requested by the police service to attend in an emergency response capacity.
It was stated in the report — emergency responses by CPOs, including the use of emergency lights and sirens are a practice that first needs approval by the authorized employer of a CPO (which in this case is Lethbridge County) through the adoption of an Emergency Response/Pursuit Policy. “Similar to other policies that council has had to adopt to authorize our community peace officer to do certain things, as part of his job, in order for our CPO to use lights and sirens in certain situations a policy has to be adopted by council — according to the rules of the Solicitor General’s office.
Once that policy is adopted by council, it gets attached to an application to actually change the CPO’s appointment,” said Beaton, during his presentation to council. When council first applied to employ a CPO, Beaton said, council had to adopt a policy on the use of a baton, the use of pepper spray and the use of managing records.
“It was probably half a dozen policies that council had to adopt that got added to the CPO’s appointment,” noted Beaton, adding it’s come to the county’s attention in order for the CPO to use lights and sirens under certain circumstances, the same process has to be followed.
A review of the policy has been completed, Beaton said, by the Emergency Advisory Committee and by a director of the peace officer program with the Solicitor General’s office. “Between those two groups of individuals — they feel the document is prepared to be presented to county council for approval,” said Beaton. The policy also touches on items such as pursuits, catch-up, spike belts and road blocks.
“Even though the CPO won’t be authorized to participate in any of those things, they have to be part of the policy according to the manual,” he added.
The policy also stipulates, according to Beaton, under no circumstances is the CPO authorized to engage in a pursuit. The policy also states, according to Beaton, under only certain circumstances is a CPO authorized to close the distance and a CPO is not authorized to participate or assist in the use of spike belts or road blocks. “It’s lights and sirens and only under certain circumstances.”
According to the information submitted to council for consideration, it will not be standard practice for the CPO to provide a code response to fire and medical situations. If a fire department or ambulance gets dispatched out, it’s not an automatic and the CPO needs to be requested to respond with lights and sirens.
“If the RCMP asks the CPO to respond with lights and sirens the CPO would be authorized to use lights and sirens,” said Beaton. Council passed the recommendations presented in Beaton’s report.
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