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Alberta saddles up additional sheriffs

EDMONTON, Alta. -- There will be extra enforcement on Alberta's highways beginning May long weekend with the additi...

EDMONTON, Alta. — There will be extra enforcement on Alberta’s highways beginning May long weekend with the addition of 20 new officers to the Sheriff Highway Patrol.

The new positions are part of the 42 announced in the provinces 2007 budget at a cost of $7.5 million.

A total of 84 sheriffs will be on the road by the beginning of July 2007, posted in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray.

“The response to the Sheriffs in their first year on the roads has been extremely positive,” said Fred Lindsay, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security. “Increased enforcement means a heightened level of awareness and education for Alberta motorists. This program complements enforcement efforts by the RCMP and allows them to focus on more serious crime issues in the communities they serve.”

The Sheriff Highway Patrol was introduced in September 2006. The officers have laid nearly 25,000 traffic offence charges and investigated or assisted in nearly 200 collisions since the program began.

“By increasing enforcement, we will help reduce the number of traffic-related deaths and injuries, which is the main objective of our Traffic Safety Plan,” said Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Luke Ouellette. “Driver attitude also plays a key role in improving safety on Alberta’s roads.”

The Sheriff Highway Patrol is also taking part in Canada Road Safety Week, which runs May 15 to 21. Enforcement will target seatbelt use, high risk driving behavior at intersections and impaired drivers.

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