A newly released report on the enforcement activities of Alberta’s sheriffs highlights the worthwhile work the officers are doing to keep the province’s highways and other roadways safe.
In particular, the fact that sheriffs apprehended and charged more than a thousand impaired drivers in 2023 is a clear indication of the vital importance of the Alberta Sheriff Highway Patrol (SHP) program.
Since being formed in July 2021, officers in the SHP have caught nearly 4,000 impaired drivers on provincial highways, taking dangerous criminal offenders off the roads and keeping innocent travellers safe.
Of the 1,217 impaired drivers caught by SHP officers in 2023, 50 were commercial drivers exceeding the province’s zero-tolerance standards for drug and alcohol when operating large tractor trailers and other such vehicles.
Mike Ellis, minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services, is right in calling the officers’ enforcement activities life-saving measures.
“Impaired driving is considered the leading criminal cause of death in Canada,” said Ellis. “The SHP is providing an outstanding example of what dedicated officers can achieve when they’re given the right tools for the jobs.”
He thanked and commended the officers “for their hard work in ensuring we all get home safe.”
As well as taking thousands of drunk drivers off the roadways, the officers have also provided vital enforcement in other areas such as speeding, distracted driving and commercial vehicle safety, writing nearly 60,000 tickets.
The sheriff’s also provided valuable assistance and teamwork to RCMP officers across the province, he noted.
“I commend members of the SHP for the commitment and focus they’ve shown towards preventing and detecting impaired driving,” said Bob Andrews, acting chief of Alberta Sheriffs. “The work they do every day across our province helps ensure people reach their destinations safely.”
It is encouraging for members of community-at-large to know that SHP offices continue to target and apprehend impaired drivers, including in this district.
Hopefully 2024 will see more drivers make the right choice to drive sober, knowing full well that SHP officers are on the job hunting for criminal offenders.
Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.