Better highway patrol coverage sought by municipalities

Three Central Alberta municipalities have united to lobby the RCMP for better highway patrol coverage in a large swath around Rocky Mountain House.

Three Central Alberta municipalities have united to lobby the RCMP for better highway patrol coverage in a large swath around Rocky Mountain House.

Clearwater County manager Ron Leaf said a meeting was held with two RCMP superintendents on Monday to present a proposal to post up to 10 officers and sheriffs in Rocky Mountain House and area. The Village of Caroline and Town of Rocky Mountain House are also involved in the push to maintain police highway presence in the western part of Central Alberta.

Leaf described the meeting as “very positive,” although the RCMP senior officers said they could not make any commitment until more review is done.

Supt. Howard Eaton, who has just been put in charge of traffic services for K Division, and Supt. Curtis Zablocki, who oversees the Battle River District, attended for the RCMP.

Leaf said if officers must travel to the Rocky area from Blackfalds, they will have little time left on shift after travel time to patrol highways such as Hwy 11 that can be busy with tourists in the summer.

There had been concerns expressed by the county that highway patrol officers would be relocated to Blackfalds.

“Our proposal was relocate some of the members of the RCMP, some of the sheriffs and create a sub-office out of Rocky Mountain House and basically patrol the western portion of Central Alberta,” said Leaf.

A suggested patrol area would range from Hwy 2 to the Jasper National Park boundary from Rimbey to as far south as Didsbury.

“We felt that area could be as effectively, if not more so, patrolled from Rocky Mountain House as opposed to Blackfalds.”

There are two RCMP highway patrol officers posted in Rocky.

RCMP spokesman Tim Taniguchi said no decision has been made on redeploying highway patrol officers to Blackfalds.

“It’s on hold pending the information that those (municipalities) provided,” he said. “There is no real time line on a decision at this point.”

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