The Lethbridge Police Service’s first Community Peace Officers (CPOs) are now fully trained and ready to hit the streets on their own.
The Service’s nine CPOs have completed 22 weeks of in-house training and 16 weeks of field training on the street paired with an experienced police officer. The addition of CPOs will supplement the Service’s street strength, particularly in the downtown core, and citizens can expect to see the new officers primarily on foot patrol. CPOs, who are sworn peace officers but have specific, limited authorities, can be visually distinguished from regular police officers by their uniform. The CPO uniform includes a light grey shirt and navy pants with a grey stripe, while a police uniform is all navy blue with a red stripe.
The LPS CPOs, as appointed by the Solicitor General, can enforce a variety of provincial statutes as well as some provisions of the Criminal Code. In addition, they also have authority as City of Lethbridge bylaw officers. Their authorities enable them to respond to calls for service such as disturbances, nuisance reports, shoplifting, panhandling, loitering, trespassing, public intoxication, noise complaints, traffic offences and collisions. CPOs are also approved to conduct apprehensions under the Mental Health Act. In addition to their foot patrol duties downtown, there are two CPO vehicles on the street. Adding CPOs to the frontline to respond to less serious calls will help free up regular officers to focus on more complex investigations.
The LPS will be recruiting for additional CPOs in the near future with training anticipated in the first quarter of 2020.