Too soon to tell 0
Crowsnest Pass has joined the ranks of many municipalities with its peace officer program now up and running in the community.
Controversy and heated opposition has dogged the program since it was first announced. Critics question the need for peace officers when there is a fully functioning and well-staffed RCMP detachment present; they question the need for two officers; and they question how the program will be funded. Moreover, they fear the costs of the program will be borne on the backs of residents who will be fined and ticketed mercilessly for every minor infraction in order to justify its existence.
All are valid and legitimate concerns. However, before the program is charged and convicted, consider its merits.
How many times have you been passed on a solid line on Highway 3? Or had somebody driving impossibly close just itching to pass you in a 60-kilometre zone like Frank or a 50-kilometre zone like Coleman? How many times has Highway 3 been the scene of yet another horrific collision?
To be sure the changing speed limits within the municipality are confusing and for those who only drive through the Pass occasionally, motorists are sometimes blissfully unaware of them.
Then there are those who are so intent on getting to their destination, or those who just can't go fast enough and don't care what the speed limits are. Not to mention those who still insist on driving after drinking, no matter how many penalties the law puts in place.
What's wrong with having those people ticketed or fined? What's wrong with have them ticketed if they're not wearing a seatbelt, or have burned out lights or stopped if they're impaired? What's wrong with having more enforcement on the highway to make it a safer place to travel for Crowsnest Pass residents who have to use it day after day to get from point A to point B?
We are encouraged by the stated goal of the Director of Protective & Community Services to make the peace officer program self- sufficient and even more encouraged by his plan to release data showing tickets and revenue generated in a transparent and timely fashion.
Perhaps the jury's still out on this. Perhaps judgement should be held until we see if the goal is achieved, if the program pays for itself, and if in fact it makes the highway safer for all of us.