GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – The Town of Grand Falls-Windsor wants to expand its municipal police department’s range of enforcement, including the ability to issue tickets under the Highway Traffic Act.
“The Municipalities Act is somewhat restrictive in what a community can do with regards to policing and enforcement,” said Mayor Barry Manuel. “There are things we would like to have the authority to do within our community that we don’t right now.
“The whole idea would be to give our municipal police the authority to enforce the Highway Traffic Act, which covers a bunch of infractions, not just highway infractions.”
This would allow the town to do a more effective job of policing the community, said the mayor.
Having the ability to enforce the Highway Traffic Act would give municipal police officers the ability to issue tickets to motorists driving while using a cellphone or texting, which they currently do not have the authority to enforce.
“Our municipal police department is not authorized to enforce that law,” said Manuel. “That is troublesome to us because with today’s society, there is a problem with texting and driving. We want our municipal police to be able to enforce that under the law.”
While municipal officers can issue tickets for traffic violations including speeding, running a stop sign and parking violations, incidents on the highway are outside their jurisdiction.
“There (are violations) we do have authority for, but certainly it’s not enough,” said the mayor.
The town has been talking to the Department of Justice about how it can expand municipal police authority, a ministerial decision to be made by Minister Andrew Parsons, said the mayor.
The town is hoping to meet with the minister to discuss the issue before the year is out.
“We’ve got a competent police department,” said Manuel, noting the town’s municipal police chief is a retired RCMP officer who has valuable experience and training.
“We want to make sure that our police are equipped with the power to enforce the laws under the Highway Traffic Act.”