Blue Line

New sheriff team established in southern Alberta

November 15, 2023  By Government of Alberta

Nov. 15, 2023, Alberta – Alberta’s government is taking action to combat crime in southern Alberta because residents deserve to feel safe no matter where they live. To improve public safety in southern Alberta, the Alberta Sheriffs have created six positions for a Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit in Lethbridge. While based in that city, the new team will work with local police to investigate illegal activity at problem properties throughout the region.

“We’ve seen, time and time again, how help from the SCAN unit can break the cycle of crime at problem properties and allow law-abiding citizens to take back their neighbourhoods and regain their sense of safety. Expanding the SCAN unit’s presence in southern Alberta will give communities in the region and local police more access to this valuable crime-fighting tool. Officer presence matters and Alberta’s government is putting boots on the ground to do so,” said Mike Ellis, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services.

The Alberta Sheriffs work with other law enforcement agencies to shut down properties being used for illegal activities such as drug dealing. The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act gives sheriffs the authority to target problem properties through legal sanctions and court orders.

The new Lethbridge unit is created as part of Budget 2023, which allocated additional funding to increase the size and capacity of the SCAN unit by hiring more investigators and basing a share of the additional positions in new regional hubs.

“I’m proud of the SCAN unit’s work in southern Alberta, with investigative successes that have made a positive difference for many people in the region. Establishing a team in southern Alberta will enhance our solid partnerships with police in the region, increase our local knowledge and build stronger relationships with the community,” said Greg Medley, deputy chief, Alberta Sheriffs.

Between 2019 and September 2023, SCAN investigators based in Calgary responded to complaints about 497 properties in the communities that will be served by the new southern Alberta team. By establishing a SCAN unit in Lethbridge, police in southern Alberta will have more options to combat criminal activity with the assistance of Alberta Sheriffs.

The new team will serve an area roughly bounded by Vulcan to the north, Crowsnest Pass to the west, the U.S. border to the south and the provincial boundary with Saskatchewan to the east.

Since its inception in 2008, Alberta’s SCAN unit has investigated more than 8,000 complaints throughout the province. Most SCAN investigations are resolved informally by working with owners to stop the illegal activity on their property.

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