In the coming days, Calgary will have more officers on Calgary Transit, and more officers enforcing the city’s bylaws, following a Nov. 25 graduation ceremony at the Mewata Armory.
The combined class of the two services represents the first joint-class graduation held in the city’s history.
The officers represent a variety of different backgrounds, something that Calgary Emergency Management, Community Safety, and Transit Safety Deputy Chief Will Fossen represents well-rounded and well-trained officers joining their respective services.
“Up to this point, the experience they bring with them is varied depending on where they came from, but when they start with us, it’s 12 weeks of classroom, which includes six weeks of general, what they call community peace officer induction training… and the other is job specific,” Fossen said.
“How to operate in the transit environment, or how to operate in general community safety, and it includes verbal de-escalation training, it includes dealing with the vulnerable population, and it includes dealing with addictions.”
Deputy Chief Fossen said that the graduating class represents the continued investment by the City of Calgary into public safety.
“The investment that transit made prior to today gives us what equates to 28 peace officers,” he said.
“So, $5.9 million that came out of their funding, and shows that they’re committed to actually making the system safe or for everyone to come back.”
More integrated safety model for city coming
That funding was discussed as part of budget week in Calgary City Council.
Chief Aaron Coon, speaking to council this week, said that budget included $5.9 million in capital costs, and $370,000 in ongoing operational costs to increase transit safety.
“That was also done in collaboration with corporate security with additional resources on the transit line to augment the service model,” he said.
Of the 12 officers that graduated on Friday, six are from Bylaw services, and six from Calgary Transit.
An additional 14 Calgary Transit peace officers will be starting on Nov. 28, followed by 14 more in February of 2023.
“As far as the service delivery model to transit for the peace officer program that’s going to be part of that growth package that we’re working with our partner agencies on reviewing,” said Chief Coon.