The City of Humboldt Council officially approved the creation of a Community Safety Officer (CSO) at its regular meeting held on Monday, November 28. The former community bylaw officer has completed the necessary training, according to a report presented to Council, and will assume the expanded duties of the CSO effective December 1, 2022.
The City announced its intention to create the position several months ago, and it has provided the vehicle, equipment and software to move forward. The City has also worked in concert with the RCMP to define the scope with respect to all matters dealing with the RCMP. The CSO will have a mandate that goes beyond duties that the bylaw officer would perform.
Joe Day, city manager, spoke on behalf of the Chief of Protective Services.
“We now feel that we’re in that spot where we can ask Council to go ahead with these resolutions and formally launch the CSO program,” explained Day. “Our intentions are that this CSO program, and the introduction of the CSO himself, will enhance the community’s enforcement of some of the more non-criminal related matters such as speeding, distracted driving, noisy vehicles and those sorts of things. The hope is that if we can touch on some of the smaller infractions at the local municipal level, then it won’t cause as many concerns at the RCMP level.”
The agreement paves the way for the City to sign a memorandum of understanding around standard operating procedures when it comes to use of the CSO in RCMP related duties. The CSO will have special constable status under the provincial Police Act of 1990, but the CSO will be employed by the municipality, in this case the City.
According to the report, a CSO can enforce numerous provincial acts. They include infractions related to Traffic Safety, Highways and Transportation, All Terrain Vehicles, Snowmobiles, Alcohol and Gamin, Cannabis, and Trespass to Property, as well as select Criminal Code charges. CSOs may also issue summary offense tickets which may demand court appearances.
Prior to voting on the recommendation’s approval, Councillor Rob Muench suggested the City conduct a communication and awareness campaign to better inform residents about the scope of the position and its intent.