Public safety and policing needs have evolved in the province and sheriffs play a vital role in working with police to support safer communities. If passed, the Public Safety Statutes Amendment Act, 2024 would update current policing legislation to establish a new organization that would work alongside police services across the province. Officers in the new agency would take on responsibility for police-like functions currently carried out by the Alberta Sheriffs.

These changes will improve the government’s ability to respond to communities’ requests for additional law enforcement support through a new agency that can operate seamlessly alongside local police in the policing environment. The new agency would be operationally independent from the government, as all Alberta’s police services are now.

"These changes are part of a broader paradigm shift that reimagines police as an extension of the community rather than as an arm of the state. Having a new police agency perform these functions under the legal framework of policing legislation will ensure they’re carried out with the transparency, accountability and independence which Albertans should expect from law enforcement.”

Mike Ellis, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services

The proposed amendments would underpin the government’s ongoing work to strengthen the current policing model. The new, independent police agency will have the authority and jurisdiction to support the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), municipal police services and First Nations police services in Alberta.

This work builds on previous work done by the province to expand the role of the Alberta Sheriffs to increase public safety. The new agency would follow best practices, which include being subject to a civilian oversight board to increase public confidence and accountability. This board would have a role similar to local police commissions, which provide independent civilian oversight of municipal and First Nations police services in Alberta.

The creation of a provincial agency that can perform specialized law enforcement functions will enable police services across the province to spend more of their time focused on core operations and frontline duties.

Quick facts

  • Alberta Sheriffs expanded duties include fugitive apprehension, surveillance and Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence (RAPID) Response, which gave the Sheriff Highway Patrol added authority to investigate impaired driving and other criminal offences in July 2021.

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