County of Wetaskiwin council was united in its concern about a report of detained drunk drivers who were apparently not investigated for impaired driving.
The issue arose during the Apr. 23 regular meeting of council. Assistant CAO Jeff Chipley presented his regular monthly protective services report for March, 2019.
“Some of the highlights of incidents that were dealt with by the Community Peace Officers (CPOs) of the County of Wetaskiwin in the month of March were as follows,” stated Chipley in his report.
“CPOs dealt with approximately twelve (12) instances of drivers under the intoxication of drugs and/or alcohol.
“In one (1) instance, a driver who was issued a twenty-four (24) hour suspension due to the RCMP being unable to attend has six (6) previous impaired driving convictions.
“With the warm weather, CPOs have received numerous complaints regarding vehicles traveling at extreme rates of speed, as well as road and property damage being caused by the use of Off-Highway Vehicles. Patrols attempting to mitigate these issues will be continued.
“A CPO observed suspicious behavior at the Edmonton International Raceway. The CPO spoke to the trespassers and to the representative of the property, leading to no charges being laid.”
Chipley noted the warmer weather in the second half of the month saw increased instances of speeding, property damage, trespassing and impaired driving.
Councilor Josh Bishop asked why the RCMP didn’t attend the discovery of an alleged impaired driver in the Town of Millet area on Mar. 16.
The report described the event thusly: “While on patrol in Millet, CPO stopped a pick up truck for having no tail lamps operating in darkness. The driver, who had a suspended license, displayed numerous signs of intoxication. The RCMP were called, but were unable to attend the scene. CPO laid seven (7) provincial charges and the truck was seized for thirty (30) days in accordance with provincial regulations. The driver had six (6) previous impaired driving convictions.”
Chipley responded that county CPO’s are not police, and can’t lay criminal charges such as impaired driving. When the Wetaskiwin RCMP were called, they answered that there were only four members on duty and thus would not be able to respond to the call. “We did everything we could in our power,” said Chipley.
He said the county was planning on discussing this situation with the Wetaskiwin RCMP.
There was another incident in the report that allegedly involved another impaired driving offender. Bishop asked, “What about the other one?”
The report described an incident on Mar. 3 in Div. 5: “CPOs attended and found an intoxicated male and with two (2) vehicles on the road, having care and control of the vehicles. CPO called Wetaskiwin RCMP to assist, and CPO issued a twenty-four (24) hour suspension to the male. RCMP attended and could not facilitate the impaired investigation as the Member was not trained in Field Sobriety Test. The RCMP Member was unable to find any impairment and the twenty-four (24) hour suspension remained in effect. CPO issued two (2) no insurance and no registration charges, as both vehicles were on the road.”
Councilors accepted Chipley’s report for information.