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.”

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.”

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.

“The expansion of the SCAN unit with a Lethbridge office shows just how seriously the province is taking the issue of crime and safety in this region. The presence of this team will not only help address current issues but will hopefully prevent further entrenchment of these criminal elements in Lethbridge and southern Alberta.”

Nathan Neudorf, MLA for Lethbridge-East

“On behalf of Lethbridge city council, I am very pleased to hear that our provincial government will be setting up a permanent SCAN unit in our city. Our council has been advocating for increased resources to prioritize community safety, so having a dedicated force focusing on southern Alberta will certainly be a welcome addition.”

Blaine Hyggen, mayor, City of Lethbridge

“The presence of a Lethbridge-based SCAN unit will increase opportunities for partnerships and collaboration to shutter problem properties and restore order in neighbourhoods. The message is clear: SCAN has moved in and it’s time for those engaged in criminal activity to stop.”

Gerald Grobmeier, deputy chief, Lethbridge Police Service

“The expansion of the SCAN unit, with the establishment of a six-member team based in Lethbridge extending their service to the Medicine Hat area, is a welcome addition. We look forward to the positive impact this team will bring, and working collaboratively with them to address community concerns, disrupt illegal activities and protect the safety of our neighbourhoods.”

Al Murphy, chief, Medicine Hat Police Service

“In the continuum of public safety, SCAN being situated in Lethbridge will no doubt assist police agencies in Lethbridge and Taber, and the rest of southern Alberta. Police need tools to address criminal behaviour in our communities. It is great to see Minister Ellis recognize and support Alberta law enforcement with these new resources, and provide alternatives, to address our rural public safety concerns.”

Graham Abela, chief, Taber Police Service

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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