Chopper to hunt Hwy 2 speeders

Speeders along Hwy 2 now have more to worry about than police cars with radar guns.

Speeders along Hwy 2 now have more to worry about than police cars with radar guns.

Airborne RCMP members and sheriffs will augment traffic enforcement along Alberta’s busiest corridor with a helicopter.

RCMP K Division traffic Supt. Howard Eaton said 25 sheriffs and RCMP members are trained in aerial enforcement techniques.

“It’s another tool in the toolbox for us,” said Eaton. “We have laser, we have radar, we have patrol cars and those are all good, but this (helicopter) is one more thing.”

The hope is that it is one more way to make drivers think a little more about how fast they travel.

Another course to get more officers trained in this type of traffic enforcement is slated for later in July.

The three-day course has one day of in-class training going over the theory, much of it math-based. Over the next two days, the officers get applied training.

“They spend two days in the aircraft and they actually do intercepts and we pull cars over and do the whole spiel,” said Eaton.

As early as later this month, officers will be in the air monitoring drivers’ speed. Special lines have been painted on the road to assist officers in the helicopter trying to calculate the speed of vehicles.

Aloft officers will time drivers as they go between the of lines and relay the descriptions of the speeding vehicles to officers in cars so they can pull over the speeders and issue tickets.

Training is being conducted in Banff. Since 2009, some aerial enforcement has taken place along the Bow Valley corridor.

Although aerial enforcement was launched in Alberta in 1968, its use has ebbed and flowed based on aircraft availability and budgets.

Eaton said the availability of the helicopter will define when they can conduct the aerial enforcement.

“We’re using the RCMP helicopter based in Edmonton and it has other demands,” said Eaton. “When there is time, we get the helicopter up and we go. They have to do search and rescue, and they were down in High River for a few weeks.”

Red Deer is in the middle of the most heavily-travelled highway in the province.

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