Bashaw Mounties to patrol Buffalo Lake

Bashaw RCMP plans to extend the long arm of the law out into Buffalo Lake this summer.

Bashaw RCMP plans to extend the long arm of the law out into Buffalo Lake this summer.

Sgt. Geoff Buxcey said he hopes to have two officers trained this spring for boat patrols from Bashaw and Stettler RCMP detachments.

Bashaw police officers hitched rides on an Alberta Fish and Wildlife boat last year for a few patrols and officers also did a number of shore patrols.

“But this year we want to expand that a little better, get some guys trained and get out there on the water,” said Buxcey.

“Wetaskiwin detachment has two boats, a zodiac and just a regular boat. What we’re going to do is borrow from them and then set up some patrols on Buffalo Lake. I’m looking at probably two patrols or more a month from each detachment.”

There would also be weekend spot checks at boat docks.

Buxcey hopes to send officers to be trained by Sylvan Lake detachment in May.

“If all goes well, and I get the guys trained, it would be the end of May or the first part of June that they would be out there on the water.”

RCMP ran boat patrols a number of years ago, but they were halted because of the cost.

The public made it clear there was a need for more enforcement on the lake.

“Really it was just the community at large was saying there are boats out there, there are people not obeying the laws.

“I like to see our guys out there enforcing every area we can.”

Police will be enforcing liquor regulations, but also checking that boaters have life-jackets, baling buckets and other necessary equipment.

Since Sept. 15, all boaters need proof of competency to operate any boat with a motor. The new regulation requires boaters to carry their Pleasure Craft Operator Card obtained from either an accredited course provider or an online testing provider.

Stettler RCMP Sgt. Rowland Schmidt said he hopes to have a couple of officers trained for boat patrols but no one has been confirmed yet.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com