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WHEREAS Special Constables play a major role in rural municipalities’ goal to provide safe, viable communities through their close work with the RCMP and Alberta Infrastructure & Transportation, Motor Transport branch; and WHEREAS Special Constables provide municipalities with the manpower to protect valuable road infrastructure; and WHEREAS municipalities are experiencing lengthy delays in receiving appointments of newly recruited Special Constables even when the incumbent is transferring from a previous position where he/she held a Special Constable status with such offices as the Alberta Motor Transport Division; and WHEREAS new Special Constables must attend the Solicitor General Staff College as a condition of their appointment and the Solicitor General Staff College does not have a set frequency of training sessions; and WHEREAS timelines for hiring individuals for Special Constable positions in municipalities and actually having them work as Special Constables is excessive due to the inability to get individuals through the required training program of the Solicitor General Staff College; and WHEREAS there is a communication flaw between the Solicitor General Public Security Peace Officer Program and the Solicitor General Staff College whereby once temporary appointments are issued, getting a seat in the required training session at the Staff College is not being coordinated between the two departments;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Solicitor General’s Department to establish a more timely process to deal with Special Constable appointments and to establish a coordinated process between the Solicitor General Staff College and the Solicitor General Public Security Peace Officer Program to establish more timely training sessions for Special Constables receiving temporary appointments; and FURTHER, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties work with the of Alberta Urban Municipalities Association to establish a committee of representatives from Special Constable employers and the Special Constables’ Association to serve as a resource group to deal with emerging issues and prepare guidance and advice to employers of municipal Special Constables.
On November 14th, 2006 the County of Grande Prairie No. 1 employed a new special constable who, prior to his employment with the County, had been fully trained and authorized as a provincial Special Constable as a Transport Officer. An application was submitted to the Solicitor General’s department for this individual to receive his appointment for the County of Grande Prairie. On January 4th, 2007, a time period of over seven weeks after application was made, our new employee received his temporary appointment.As condition of his appointment, he must now attend the Solicitor General’s Staff College for Special Constable Legal Studies training and his appointment is conditional upon his successful completion of this course, however, his temporary appointment has a one year expiry date.Since this Special Constable has been in our employ there have been two complete Legal Studies courses put on which we attempted to register him for, however, due to him not having his temporary appointment he was unable to attend. We were also unable to advance the process to obtain the appointment. There is only one more Legal Studies course scheduled for 2007 — either in late April or early May 2007 which we have made application to have our Special Constable attend, however, there has been no seat confirmed for him.This process is frustrating for municipalities, especially municipalities where there is a lot of heavy truck traffic. Municipalities rely on the services of the Special Constables to help to deter overweight loads from damaging road infrastructure. This lengthy delay has been experienced for the last three Special Constables we have hired.We have also come to receive information that Special Constables who are Transport Officers who transfer to the Sheriff Department of the Solicitor General’s Department are receiving appointments almost immediately.The following are issues of Concerns that municipalities face relating to hiring of Special Constables:1. It would appear there is no accountability or timelines in place for the province to deliver this service. They do not have to answer inquiries and are not committed to meeting any form of deadlines. What is needed is a set standard or policy that applies equally to both provincial and municipal employers. This should level the playing field for all employers.2. New Special Constables must attend the Solicitor General Staff College as a condition of their employment. It would be extremely beneficial to get municipal employees into the College for recruit training while they are still new recruits and on probation. Having these people hired into jobs they are not properly trained for raises an issue of liability for employers from an Occupational Health and Safety perspective as well. If we hire someone in good faith possessing all the required education and hiring criteria laid out in law, we should be able to get them into their required training courses. To further protect us, we could include the requirement to complete this training as a condition of permanent employment.3. There appears to be little communication between the Solicitor General Staff College that puts on the formal training for Special Constables and the Solicitor General Public Security Peace Officer Program that issues our appointments and governs municipal activities. There needs to be a process in place to co-ordinate the activities of both these offices that would benefit all employers of Special Constables and not just the provincial departments.4. There is no set frequency of when, or if, Special Constable training will occur. This makes recruiting extremely difficult, especially if we are looking at hiring new entry, untrained individuals to the field. Not only do they need to establish the training criteria, but they also need to set a schedule that is available to employers on a first come, first served basis. Employers should be bound by time lines as well. They should be required to give the College sufficient notice of any cancellation. 5. The mandatory training offered by the Staff College is minimal and employers are forced to seek out other basic training at varied venues. Driver training, emergency vehicle operator training, radar/laser, weights and measures to name but a few are core duties of most municipal Special Constables. These courses are not available at the College and employers must seek them out on their own. This training is relevant to these positions and should be available through the College. All required training for Special Constables for the province must be either delivered by the College or by an organization approved by the College and necessary to receive a full appointment.In addition to the foregoing, on a short term basis the AAMDC should take the lead to work with the AUMA, AARMA and the SLGM to obtain their support to champion these issues with the Province. In the long term AAMDC should seek to establish a committee made up of representative members who employ Special Constables, and AUMA, to work with the Solicitor General’s Department to develop a process that is acceptable to all. The mandate of the Special Constables should be to work with other Peace Officers to provide a well trained network of individuals who provide a safe, secure environment for Albertans to live or travel.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.
The Government has committed to increased funding for support staff, and is open to re-examining the timeframes in which courses are delivered. Due to the Law Enforcement Framework Review (LEF) the AAMDC felt that commencing this committee would be premature in light of potential changes that may be resulting for Peace Officers.