by MorinvilleNews.com Staff
Alberta’s Sheriff Highway Patrol (SHP) removed more than 1,200 impaired drivers from the province’s roads in 2023, the provincial government announced on Friday.
SHP was given authority in July of 2021 to investigate criminal offences, including impaired driving. Since then, they have stopped just under 4000 impaired drivers, 1200 of those last year.
“Impaired driving is considered the leading criminal cause of death in Canada. By empowering the Sheriff Highway Patrol to take impaired drivers off our highways, Alberta’s government is helping make our roads safer for everyone who uses them,” said Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services Mike Ellis, in a media release on Friday. “The Sheriff Highway Patrol is providing an outstanding example of what dedicated officers can achieve when they’re given the right tools for the job.”
SHP also has speed, distracted driving, and commercial vehicle safety as its priority focus, and wrote 59,583 related tickets last year.
The province is providing new funding to let SHP answer calls for assistance from the RCMP as part of a planned expansion of the RAPID Response initiative. The government says the Alberta Sheriffs will complete training for three SHP recruit classes between December of last year and June of this year. The result will be 74 new officers ready for deployment with another class of 30 expected to commence this fall.
“I commend members of the Sheriff Highway Patrol for the commitment and focus they’ve shown toward preventing and detecting impaired driving: their efforts have surely saved lives,” said Bob Andrews, acting chief, Alberta Sheriffs, in the same media release. “The work they do every day across our province helps ensure people reach their destination safely.”