Drivers on Saskatchewan’s highways will notice a new provincial law enforcement team starting on the Canada Day long weekend.
The Saskatchewan Highway Patrol will officially begin its duties on July 1. Formerly known as the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement group, the new name also comes with a new look.
The province has revealed re-designed vehicles featuring a blue stripe down the side and marked with the new Saskatchewan Highway Patrol name and crest.
Brendan Tuchscherer is the patrol’s assistant director and has been involved in law enforcement for 19 years. He said the patrol unit is the next evolution in how they enforce the law.
“This just seems like a logical next step,” Tuchscherer said.
Highway patrol officers will continue to have all the equipment they are used to, including a computer, dash cams and radar units. They’ll also be issued with new body cameras.
Patrol Director Robin Litzenberger said the cameras will only be used when patrol members are interacting with people.
“We will have them activated when we’re involved in a traffic stop or responding to a call, we will turn them on, capture that event and then turn them off,” Litzenberger said. “That way you’re not continuously collecting images for no good reason.”
The officers will then upload the footage to a cloud-based storage unit and collect audio as well.
According to David Marit, provincial minister of highways and infrastructure, the highway patrol program is fairly unique in the country.
“This is really something we looked at in rural Saskatchewan that we had to have some enhancement forces,” Marit said.
The highway patrol will work with RCMP and conservation officers to respond to things like 911 calls and traffic accidents. The officers will also be able to investigate impaired driving incidents.