Calgarians driving past Deerfoot City over the next few weeks will see a lot more police at the shopping mall.
Calgary Police and Alberta Sheriffs will be conducting two-weeks of intensive motorcycle training in the parking lot closest to the CPS Traffic Unit’s offices.
Sergeant Dale Seddon with CPS’ Traffic Unit said that the joint-training would be giving officers the skills they need to operate safely for public facing events like parades, special events, funerals, and processions.
The joint nature of the training, he said, was something new for the service.
“The executive with CPS and the Sheriffs—law enforcement as a whole here—are starting to get together and realize that we are better as a whole,” Sgt. Seddon said.
“There’s always been that work together attitude, but there’s really been a push for it lately with everything going on. And this is just one of those initiatives is bringing us together and creating that camaraderie between the two agencies.”
Getting trained for safety
Sgt. Seddon said that the training would give officers specific training to ride slowly and with manoeuvrability.
“Motorcycle instructors will tell you that anyone can ride a motorcycle in a straight line fast. That’s not where the skill is in riding a motorcycle,” he said.
“What this course teaches officers to do is to be able to ride in slow speed conditions slow speed manoeuvrability of that motorcycle, which is very important as a law officer.”
Other techniques being taught include defensive driving, collision avoidance, braking techniques, and exit strategies. The training serves as a refresher even for veteran motorcycle officers.
“The climate in Calgary is such that you know, motorcycles are only being used for a short period of time that four to six months time frame, so people skills get rusty over the winter,” Seddon said.
“Police officers are no different even though we ride a fair bit when the riding season is here. This course here is important to reintroduce officers on the bikes.”
That message of getting familiar with how to ride again is something that Sgt. Seddon said would be useful for any riders in the city this year.
“When you’re riding a motorcycle you have to remember that mistakes get made by everybody, but when you’re a motorcyclist a mistake made is usually you’re the one who’s going to pay the consequences for it,” he said.
“So we want motorcyclists to be aware. We know motorcycles are faster than cars, so be aware of your speed when you’re approaching intersections as intersections are always where most collisions will occur.”
Motorcycles useful for a variety of situations said CPS
The use of motorcycles to safely control traffic was recently seen during the Calgary Expo’s Parade of Wonders, where rolling intersection control was handled by members of the Traffic Unit.
“You know the great thing about the motors is we use them for escorts all the time when we have special events,” Seddon said.
“We have special guests, we have VIPs attend the city, and the motorcycles enable us to manage traffic, to work our way through traffic congestion, and clear intersections and roadways so that we can safely escort people around the city.”
Among the special events that the Traffic Unit will be using motorcycles for this year includes the upcoming World Petroleum Congress.
“The motorcycles will play an important role in that, in terms of getting our special guests and people around to the different venues and securing those venues in a safe way for them,” Seddon said.