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Canada's Traffic Services: Pilot Project

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 69 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2002 Pages: 32-38
Maurice Pilon
Charles E. Higginbotham
Date Published
July 2002
7 pages
This article presents findings from a 3-year study on the traffic policing practices of the Canadian police services focusing on the current state of traffic services and led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
In 1988, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Traffic Committee undertook a 3-year in-depth study into Canadian traffic law enforcement. Key issues for examination included lack of funding, redirected priorities, and varying degrees of knowledge and training. The lead agency in the study was the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the area of study for the pilot project was the Southern Alberta District (SAD). A main working group was established to begin the review process. From 1988 to 1991, the pilot project team developed a traffic delivery service. They collected baseline data regarding attitudes and misconceptions among police service members. Initial findings supported a complete review of organizational structures. During the first phase of the SAD Project, the team examined all variables relating to traffic services, with the main focus on community policing philosophies and problem-solving techniques. Findings indicated that rural-based policing strategies were little understood and found no substantial national or international research to aid the team in recognizing problems and to make direct changes. The initial work plan of the study called for eight projects which included: (1) examine resourcing and management; (2) undertake focus group sessions; (3) review mission and strategy statements; (4) examine fatality and injury data; (5) scan statistics; (6) review enforcement activities; (7) form a response; (8) knowledge and opinion survey findings. The Alberta pilot project identified obstacles and achieved a dramatic shift in the approach to public safety on the highway through effectual changes in enforcement practices, driving behaviors, and fatality and serious injury data. Sequential research will provide feedback to front-line members and the surveys will continue until goals and targets are achieved.