Humboldt is contending with a number of infractions, including speeding, noisy vehicles, and distracted driving, among others. That’s why the City of Humboldt approved a move to create a Community Safety Officer in line with a program that’s active in other Saskatchewan communities.
According to a report filed with the City, the existing Bylaw Officer enforces only municipal bylaws with limited enforcement capabilities. The existing procedures allow ticketed offenders 3-10 days to pay the ticket before a summons is issued. Of the 145 tickets issued in 2021, 16 remained unpaid with an accumulated revenue of $1760. The report noted that bringing tickets to provincial court and hiring a lawyer to represent the City becomes a costly process.
Like bylaw officers, community safety officers (CSO) are hired by the city or municipality but act as special constables under the Saskatchewan Police Act. That means they can play a more active role in law enforcement with a wider mandate. They can enforce under acts such as Traffic Safety, Highways and Transportation, All Terrain Vehicles, Snowmobiles, Alcohol and Gaming, Cannabis, and Trespass to Property, as well as select Criminal Code charges. Officers can lay Summary Offense Tickets as well as tickets for bylaw infractions.
In his report, current City of Humboldt Bylaw Officer Justin Tarrant stated that he kept a tally of all the tickets that could have been written for speeding, stop signs, distracted driving, and littering from a vehicle. He noted 84 separate violations, including 40 speeding violations of over 20 km/hour past the posted limit and 39 stop/red light violations.
To migrate the current bylaw enforcement program to a CSO standard would require some investment on the City’s part. Upgrades to the current enforcement vehicle would be around $8800, with another $2000 for decalling. Other costs would include establishing a provincial dispatch connection, uniforms and equipment, technology purchase and maintenance. The total cost of implementing the program would be around $37,000 and an annual operational cost of $125,000. This is marginally over the cost of the current bylaw officer program which comes in at $92,000 per year.
At its June 27 regular meeting, Humboldt City Council approved the move. Tarrant stated that given the training involved and retrofitting the current cruiser, the program should be operational by mid-August this year.