Calgary police return to river patrols after last year's hiatus
CPS reversing last year's decision to leave marine capability up to fire department
The Calgary Police Service is bringing back its river patrol unit one year after deciding the job could be left up to the fire department.
Insp. Cliff O'Brien says officers will spend 40 hours per week cruising the Elbow and Bow rivers.
It's unknown how many officers will staff the resurrected unit.
"We'll have to adjust our schedule based on the usage. Certainly you will see high visibility on the weekends for sure,” he said.
Officers will be on the water in a new $36,000 vessel purchased for the marine unit.
When the decision was made last year to stop patrolling the rivers, officials said the resources could be better used elsewhere, particularly since the fire department has its own boat for patrols.
But last year’s disaster changed the thinking, O’Brien said.
"Really the floods I think demonstrated to us the importance of having the ability to get on the waterways,” he said.
River safety warning
Together with bylaw services and the fire department, Calgary police also issued a safety warning as the rafting season approaches.
“Our rivers have changed since the 2013 flood and we want to make sure that anyone thinking about going on the rivers is aware of the many dangers,” said Ken Uzeloc, deputy chief with the Calgary Fire Department, in a release.
“We’ve noticed several changes - from the flow of the river, to riverbanks that have been carved away and the debris that has been displaced in and around the rivers causing new hazards.”