Calgary 9-1-1 proud to help improve peace officer safety in Chestermere!

In August, 2012, what should have been a routine call for service for Rod Lazenby, a community peace officer in the Municipal District of Foothills, turned into the last call he would ever make. An experienced officer, Lazenby travelled to a rural property near Priddis, AB to respond to what was believed to be an animal complaint. Upon arriving at the property, Lazenby was violently attacked by a delusional man, ultimately resulting in Lazenby’s death.

This tragic incident prompted an investigation and recommendations to the Solicitor General to improve peace officer safety in the province of Alberta.

This investigation resulted in three key changes being made to the Peace Officer Program. The first involved peace officer training enhancements, the second dealt with ensuring peace officers not attend risky calls alone, and the third made it mandatory for municipalities to institute a manned central communication system to track and communicate with community peace officers.

“Today, we are pleased to announce a new partnership with the City of Calgary’s 9-1-1 that will ensure our officers are fully supported throughout the entirety of their shift,” says Chestermere Mayor Marshall Chalmers. “Our peace officers are committed to protecting our citizens and we need to ensure we are protecting them in the course of their duties.”

Peace Officers throughout the province often work outside of normal business hours and occasionally work alone. Prior to this agreement, there was little in the way of officer monitoring or backup support if a situation escalated.

With the new partnership, officers will check in with Calgary 9-1-1’s 24/7 emergency dispatch when they begin and end their shift. Dispatchers will monitor officers during the shift, check in during investigations and have the ability to dispatch additional resources should the need arise.

The partnership is the first of its kind in the Calgary region. 

“We are very pleased to embark on this partnership with the municipality of Chestermere”, says City of Calgary 9-1-1 Commander, Doug Odney. “Helping to ensure the safety of all peace officers is a critical role in making our communities safe for all of us!”

The partnership idea began a year ago when Chestermere Peace Officers began exploring different avenues to adopt the recommendations from the Lazenby report.

“Officer safety in our job is crucial. We deal with a variety of situations and, as is evidenced with the Lazenby incident, situations can be unpredictable,” says Trever Bowman, Chestermere’s Peace Officer Sergeant.

“By collaborating with the Calgary 9-1-1 team, our officers can be confident that they are monitored and supported should they need assistance. The officer monitoring provided by Calgary 9-1-1 is a critical part of officer safety and will enhance our ability and effectiveness in serving our community.”

The new system was rolled out last week and has been working very well so far.

“The Calgary 9-1-1 service exemplifies professionalism,” says Bowman. “They worked with us to find innovative solutions and we are looking forward to a lasting relationship with them.”