Commercial vehicle enforcement officers in Saskatchewan have a new mandate and a new name. The Saskatchewan Highway Patrol is replacing the former Commercial Vehicle Enforcement group.
The name change reflects the newly expanded role for the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure’s enforcement team. The new name and mandate will come into effect on July 1, 2018.
“Last year, it was announced that the Protection and Response Team (PRT) would be created to help reduce crime in rural Saskatchewan,” Highways and Infrastructure Minister David Marit said. “Officers from Commercial Vehicle Enforcement were identified as members of the team that would provide support to the RCMP and municipal police forces and they will soon be ready to do that.”
Although protecting the provincial highway system through commercial vehicle enforcement will remain the primary function for Saskatchewan Highway Patrol officers, they’re receiving expanded responsibilities to support their role on the PRT.
These responsibilities include:
• Responding to 911 calls;
• Investigating impaired drivers;
• Enforcing speed limits and other traffic violations – inside and outside of work zones;
• Taking action when someone is found committing an offence;
• Responding to motor vehicle accidents; and
• Investigating vehicles hauling livestock to ensure the health and welfare of the animals.
Members of the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol have received extensive training in recent months to prepare them for their new responsibilities. They’ve received training in the enhanced use of force, firearms and tactics for 911 calls, such as clearing a house of suspects and high-risk vehicle stops. Officers have also received training in dealing with people with mental health issues, as well as training in the Criminal Code and the requirements for the collection and control of evidence.
While the STA was initially opposed to the role change, citing a need for increased commercial enforcement in Saskatchewan as opposed to less, it’s believed now that this move may assist the province on cracking down on non-compliant carriers. Increased officers leading to an increased presence on highway is expected to address many of the compliance issues Saskatchewan has faced in recent years.