Law enforcement agencies throughout Central Alberta are preparing for the Victoria Day long weekend and the unofficial start to the summer.
In Red Deer, a common concern for officers this long weekend will be house parties.
Even though lots of people leave for the weekend, plenty stay in town and Cpl. Sarah Knelsen said the municipal noise bylaw states that noisy parties can be shut down after 11 p.m.
“Loud house parties are the big one for us,” said Knelsen. “It’s the long weekend, everybody wants to celebrate. We’ll be looking for loud party complaints.
“We’re always looking for impaired drivers and encouraging people to find alternative transportation if they are celebrating with some beverages. We’re going to be out and about as we are every weekend.”
In Sylvan Lake, the RCMP will have more officers on staff, but Cpl. Kevin Halwa said that unless the ice comes off the lake, they don’t anticipate a particularly rowdy weekend.
“The ice is still on the lake so that is going to limit a lot of the issues for us,” said Halwa. “That being said, I’ve had other long weekends where it was still ice covered on Saturday morning, but by Saturday afternoon there was boats out there and people were water skiing.”
Police will be out doing rolling checkstops and other enforcement activities throughout the weekend.
“This is not the first long weekend in Sylvan Lake,” said Halwa.
“We’ve got our long weekends and summer pretty much down to a science now.
“We’ll be keeping our eyes open for alcohol and drinking and driving-related infractions.”
Halwa said the May long weekend isn’t typically crazy for Sylvan Lake, with people instead choosing to go west towards the mountains.
That would put them in the Rocky Mountain House RCMP detachment area, where Sgt. Mike Numan said will they work with numerous enforcement agencies through the weekend, including Alberta Sheriffs, Fish and Wildlife, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and Clearwater County peace officers.
A big concern is off-highway vehicles, all-terrain vehicles and the safety of the drivers.
“Alcohol is a big concern and the combination of alcohol and vehicles does not mix,” said Numan.
Another concern is people leaving campsites on public land in a disastrous state. Numan said people should leave the sites better than the way they found the.
There will be patrols aimed at off-highway vehicles as well as checkstops.
“It’s the first long weekend and really, this year, it’s the first long weekend that it could be half-decent out weather wise,” said Numan. “We’ve had a long winter and people want to get out and enjoy the outdoors.
“We understand that, we’re just asking people do that respectfully.”
Several Alberta Parks are enforcing a liquor prohibition this long weekend, aimed at mitigating problems based on what has transpired at these locations before.
In Central Alberta, Aspen Beach, Jarvis Bay and Pigeon Lake Provincial Parks will all have a long weekend liquor ban. The ban runs from Thursday at noon to Monday at 6 p.m. Throughout the province, Garner Lake, Cypress Hills, Wabamun Lake, Dillberry Lake, Miquelon Lake and Whitney Lakes Provincial Parks will also be under the ban.
Traffic sheriffs and integrated traffic enforcement units will be on the highways checking for speeders and other unsafe drivers.
Fish and Wildlife officers will be making sure people have fishing licences and preventing conflicts with wildlife, while conservation officers will be out protecting people in parks, as well as the flora and fauna.