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Calgary graduates 30 additional transit peace officers

The City of Calgary continued to bolster its transit security ranks, with the graduation of more than two dozen recruits.

On Nov. 10, 30 Calgary Transit peace officers celebrated their graduation during a ceremony at the Mewata Armoury building

Of the 30 new Calgary Transit peace officers, 12 have graduated as part of the Experienced Officer Program. This means they already have experience as a peace officer and complete a shorter training program that enables them to graduate sooner. 

“We’ve been working very closely with the council in the mayor and the administration on identifying what a solution is for transit safety,” said Aaron Coon, the Chief of the Public Vehicle Standards Division.

Coon said that the Council approved the transit public safety strategy in October. These peace officers are part of the resources to support implementing that strategy. As a part of that strategy, three interdisciplinary hubs are planned. Two more are expected to follow in the coming years. So far, $15 million has been budgeted for the strategy, and $8.7 million has already been granted to implement the structural changes.

“Over 1,000 that applied for these classes. It’s great for us to have that many people want to be part of us, and we’re excited to what the future holds for us,” said Marcia Gonder, Transit Public Safety Deputy Chief.

This is the third recruit class that graduated. The next class starts again on the 20th, and that is 15 people.

Peace officer graduates in the ceremony on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. (Photo by YAQING KE/LIVEWIRE CALGARY)

Enforcement not necessarily the first option

Gonder said they’re going to continue working with different social agencies to help provide outreach to high-risk individual, while still maintaining security on Calgary Transit lines.

“First and foremost, we make sure that we’re looking after our vulnerable populations and that we’re approaching them with kindness and compassion and asking them what they need in their daily lives in terms of help and assistance,” said Gonder. 

The City of Calgary is working on a strategy to deal with social disorder and subsequence as the weather gets colder. The goal is to ensure they are in the communities and can get to safe spaces that keep them warm. 

“I oversee that as well, along with the inspectors and sergeants, to ensure that we’re adhering to policies and procedures and the peace officer program to ensure we’re looking at what’s transpiring in the city and mitigating any risks or concerns,” said Gonder. 

Last year, the Transit Public Safety Deputy department evolved the transit safety service model from a fare evasion model to a district deployment model that is part of the strategy and allows the Transit Public Safety Deputy to partner better with the agencies and city administration.

“The future state of this is when this is done, we’ll be able to respond to their safety concerns and the specific amount of time which is meeting the needs of Calgarians,” said Coon.