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RAPID Response launched in rural Alberta

RCMP Const. Nick Wyczynski of the RCMP’s Airdrie integrated rural detachment with fish and wildlife officer Matt Michaud.

The launch of RAPID Response on April 1 puts 140 more peace officers on guard for rural Albertans when they need help from law enforcement.

As part of the province’s Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence (RAPID) Response initiative, Alberta’s fish and wildlife officers are now available to help the RCMP answer emergency and high-priority calls when requested.

“Rural Albertans told us loud and clear that it can take too long for help to arrive in their communities,” Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said. “With RAPID Response, highly trained and professional peace officers will work across rural Alberta to answer the call when police need help to save precious minutes in an emergency.”

RAPID Response will help authorities arrive at the scene of an emergency more quickly by giving peace officers in the Alberta Sheriffs, which includes Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services, the ability to respond to a wider range of calls.

Under RAPID Response, fish and wildlife officers are able to respond to requests from the RCMP to be first at the scene of an emergency in cases where they are closer than the police.

Fish and wildlife officers will also respond to RCMP requests for back-up, which could involve helping the police locate suspects or preserve a crime scene.

Communications officers at the Alberta Sheriffs dispatch centre will also play a vital role in RAPID Response, by ensuring a reliable link with the RCMP when the two agencies respond to an incident together.

Preparations are also underway for members of the Sheriff Highway Patrol to perform RAPID Response functions later this year.

About 260 traffic sheriffs are being trained to investigate a wider range of calls, including impaired driving.

Giving traffic sheriffs the authority to handle more incidents on provincial highways will allow the RCMP to leave more officers on patrol and available to respond to higher-priority criminal matters.

RAPID Response currently covers most areas of rural Alberta policed by the RCMP.

The provincial government is also holding a series of meetings with First Nations and Metis leaders to determine their interest and earn their support before expanding RAPID Response to their communities.

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