Alberta Sheriffs Branch

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Alberta Sheriffs Branch
Alberta Sheriff logo.png
Logo of the Alberta Sheriffs Branch
Agency overview
Formed March 10, 2006
Preceding agency Courts and Prisoner Security (CAPS: 1988–2006)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Province of Alberta, Canada
Population 3,645,257
Constituting instrument Peace Officer Act
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Edmonton, Alberta
Sworn members 800+
Elected officer responsible Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
Agency executive Lee Newton, Chief Sheriff
Facilities
Stations 16
Footnotes
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Alberta Sheriffs Branch is a law enforcement agency overseen by the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General of the province of Alberta, Canada. Under the authority of the Peace Officer Act, Alberta Sheriffs are peace officers with a jurisdiction over the province of Alberta.

There are several divisions currently operating in various areas around the province. The sheriffs can enforce all provincial and Federal acts with active enforcement depending on unit. Training is completed at the Justice and Solicitor General's Training Academy, located in Edmonton. Training is a minimum twelve week basic recruit course, and once on Highway Patrol or other specialized units, a minimum of another 8–12 weeks of training is conducted. Overall Alberta Sheriffs will receive approximately 18–22 weeks of training.

History[edit]

Formation of CAPS[edit]

During the 1980s in the province of Alberta, the court system had a multitude of agencies that contributed to its operation. The Provincial Court of Alberta’s security and operation(when referring to the process of moving offender populations to the court house for court appearances) was the responsibility of the local municipal police forces when they were inside a major municipality. Rural courthouses were the responsibility of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta was the responsibility of the RCMP all over the province.

Within the correctional system, moving prisoners from provincial remand and correctional centres fell to the Alberta Correctional Escort Service (ACES), which was an unarmed service with the Alberta Correctional Services. Transferring prisoners to and from Federal Correctional Institutions was the responsibility of RCMP as the unarmed ACES were not permitted to perform these transfers.

In April 1988, Court and Prisoner Security (CAPS) was formed to free up resources tied up in the operation of the Alberta justice system. CAPS initially operated in the major city centres of Calgary and Edmonton, but eventually expanded to the smaller cities of Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Wetaskiwin in September 1988. The organization when up and running fully consisted of roughly 150 sworn members.

Court and Prisoner Security Cap Badges - Reflecting ministry changes through the years.

The CAPS officers were armed special constables under the Alberta Police Act. The organization drew its sworn members primarily from retired police officers with the remainder made up of officers from Alberta Correctional Services. CAPS officers were stationed within the courthouses of Alberta being made up both of full-time salaried employees and part-time wage casuals who were only armed after training. The culture within CAPS at this time was keep their organization and employment as armed special constables(the first for the province of Alberta) from mainstream public knowledge.

Large CAPS Prisoner Transport Van

CAPS duties included transferring serving inmates from provincial remand/correctional centre to other provincial centres and federal correctional institutions, moving inmates to and from Provincial courthouses and Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench as well as providing security to the judiciary within the courtroom. CAPS constables were also able to execute outstanding warrants and take members of the public into custody from court.

Special Duties[edit]

Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Security[edit]

Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Shield - worn on the front of CAPS constables blazers when providing security

In 1994, CAPS took on the responsibility for the escort of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. Initially this amounted only in the capacity of a driver; however, during the term of Lieutenant Governor Lois Hole an incident that can be classified as a security breach occurred and CAPS began providing close protection security for the Lieutenant Governor's public appearances.

1995 Premier’s Conference[edit]

In June 1995, Alberta was host to the 1995 Premier’s Conference in Jasper, Alberta. Despite the increased tension in Canada and among the provincial premiers due to the 1995 Quebec Referendum, then Premier Ralph Klein, chose to go against the established practice of contracting the RCMP for site and personnel security. He instead opted to utilize CAPS constables as an armed security presence. CAPS officers were drawn from the courthouses to provide security for the site of the conference as well as the protection of the premiers’ families when off site.

28th G8 Summit[edit]

In 2002, the 28th G8 summit was to be held in Kananaskis, Alberta. This was to be the first G8 summit held after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Because of this and the fact that G8 summits have typically been the scene of multiple protests and demonstrations, special considerations were made in the interest of security.

As security assets were being pulled from around the province and even across Canada, courthouse activity in Alberta was lowered to allow the utilization of in some cases 50% of the courthouse CAPS constables.

CAPS’ contribution to the security situation was twofold. Constables were provided for the security of the summit site; furthermore, CAPS was embedded with the Calgary Police Service (CPS) to aid in the transportation of mass arrests from the anticipated protest that could occur.

Changeover to Sheriffs Branch[edit]

In September 2005, the groundwork began to be laid to transform CAPS into what would become the Alberta Sheriffs Branch. The Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security reviewed a number of law enforcement activities commonly conducted by fully trained police officers. Due to the extensive and demanding requirements of the police, a number of these areas had historically received limited attention from the police services. It was decided to embark upon a strategy of “filling the gap”, allowing police to focus their resources more effectively on their core policing issues and criminal interdiction.

What would follow would be a massive increase in the size of the organization and the creation of specialized units such as Traffic Enforcement, Surveillance and Fugitive Apprehension. Court Security and Prisoner Transport(formerly CAPS) was increased in size as well, finally taking over all courthouses within the province(small rural venues were still under RCMP control at this time), the creation of an Out of Province Escort office for returning fugitives to the Alberta jurisdiction as well as the implementation of perimeter security at major courthouse venues.

Services[edit]

Court Security and Prisoner Transport[edit]

Alberta Sheriff Transport Van

This is the largest section of the Sheriff Branch and its core mandate. Court Security and Prisoner Transport (CSPT) is responsible for transporting prisoner from the various provincial court buildings, correctional centres and police holding cells, they hold and monitor prisoners in secure cell blocks before their attendance in court and finally they provide general security in the courthouse, courtrooms and at the secure entrances to the courthouses. Sheriffs are involved in executing certain court orders such as DNA orders and Protection of Children Against Drugs Act orders. CSPT has the additional duty of performing escorts outside of the province to return fugitives to Alberta.

Sheriff perform these duties at all Provincial Court of Alberta courthouses, all Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta court houses and at the Alberta Court of Appeal.

CSPT Sheriffs(and all members of the Sheriff’s Branch) can also be utilized by municipal police services or the RCMP for additional manpower for special events or disaster management such as during the 2013 Alberta floods or the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire.

Operations and Protection Services[edit]

  • Legislature and Government Center Security (LGCS) Sheriffs provide 24-hour security at the Legislature and Government Centre grounds in Edmonton, and McDougall Center in Calgary. Security services are also provided to other key government buildings, and specialized security consultation and audit services are provided to Ministries of the Government of Alberta.
  • Sheriffs Operational Communications Center (SOCC) personnel provide provincial radio communications and dispatch for Sheriffs, and are the Sheriff Branch’s central hub for Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) data transfer.
  • Executive Protection Unit (EPU) Sheriffs provide close personal protection and security to the Premier of Alberta, members of Cabinet and visiting dignitaries, and to the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.
  • Sheriff Traffic Operations collaborate with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in an integrated team model. Within these Integrated Traffic Units (ITU), Traffic Sheriffs perform traffic law enforcement duties in addition to education and awareness initiatives. Traffic Sheriffs are deployed to reduce high-risk driving behavior, improve traffic enforcement on highways, and reduce the incidence of injury and fatality collisions.
  • Alberta Security and Strategic Intelligence Support Team (ASSIST) personnel manage security information and intelligence, develop threat assessments, and provide a conduit for the flow of information between government Ministries, law enforcement, national security agencies and the private sector as it relates to Alberta's critical infrastructure.
  • Energy Security Unit (ESU) personnel provide security services to/for government officials in relation to energy and utilities in Alberta, and in concert with ASSIST, facilitate the flow of information and intelligence to the energy and utilities sector.
  • Technical Security Unit (TSU) personnel coordinate and install security alarms, cameras and locks for government Ministries, and facilitate the operational radio system for Sheriffs.

Sheriffs Investigative Support Services[edit]

Alberta Sheriffs and employees are seconded and integrated with the RCMP and several municipal policing partners within the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) model, performing duties which include:

  • Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Unit (SCAN) teams improve community safety by performing investigations under the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, targeting properties used for illegal activities such as drugs, gangs and prostitution. The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act holds owners accountable for what takes place on their property.
  • Sheriffs Investigative Support Unit (SISU) teams provide investigative support to police agencies for major and organized crime investigations within Alberta.

Corporate Security Services[edit]

Corporate Security Services' (CSS) primary mandate is identifying and managing internal and external threats to the Government of Alberta & Ministry of Justice Solicitor General employees, property and facilities through an integrated security policy and framework. They also administer the security clearance program within the Government of Alberta.

Alberta Sheriffs continue to work in Fort McMurray providing assistance where needed during the fire situation.

Rank[edit]

The rank structure consists of the following:

Title Insignia
Chief Sheriff
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rank.svg
Deputy Chief Sheriff
RCMP Chief Superintendent Rank.svg
Superintendent
RCMP Superintendent Rank.svg
Inspector
Crown of Saint Edward (Heraldry).svg
Branch Sergeant Major (Ceremonial)
Sergeant
VSP Sergeant.jpg
Sheriff III
Sheriff II
Sheriff I (unarmed)

Equipment and Vehicles[edit]

Fleet[edit]

Equipment[edit]

Past equipment[edit]

Gallery[edit]

CAPS Prisoner Transport Van

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]