Canadian Pacific Police Services: Enforcing Railway Laws to Keep You Safe!
Operation Lifesaver’s mission is to prevent collisions between trains and motor vehicles and to prevent trespassing incidents that lead to serious injury or death. They are working to achieve their goal through important partnerships that include, the railway industry, government, the media, unions and police, including the Canadian Pacific Police Service (CPPS).
The CPPS initially joined Operation Lifesaver in making educational presentations to the public, warning them about the dangers of disobeying signals at railway crossings, the risks involved in trespassing on railway property and the laws involved. In 2008, CPPS made the decision to concentrate on assisting Operation Lifesaver’s mission by enforcing railway laws and educating the public out in the field.
Using a risk-based approach, where areas with a high instance of trespassing and crossing offences were identified, CPSS officers now make daily high-visibility patrols, wearing bright jackets, in these high-risk areas. They focus on removing trespassers and deterring others from illegally entering railway property. This includes train riders, who may be criminally charged with mischief if they’re caught and cause the train to stop. They also respond to and investigate trespassing incidents that are reported to them by the public or other police agencies.
CPPS officers spend much of their days enforcing traffic laws at railway crossings, with a particular focus on speeding. Officers use the latest state-of-the-art laser speed detection equipment to catch drivers speeding as they approach crossings. Offenders are issued speeding tickets based on provincial traffic safety laws.
For CPPS officers, the goal at crossings is to slow drivers down, so that they have the time to make responsible decisions, thereby preventing accidents caused by risk-taking behaviors like racing the train or going around the barriers. Drivers who do make the dangerous decision to race the train, ignore crossing signals, drive around barriers or stop on the tracks are charged.
Another area of enforcement that the CPPS focuses on is property crimes, including graffiti and train robbing, where people break into trains and containers.
Beyond enforcement, CPPS believes that public education will go a long way in preventing railway offenses from occurring in the first place. Many people don't realize that trespassing on railway property is illegal. CPPS is aiming to change that by posting 'No Trespassing' signs, first in all areas identified as high-risk, and eventually everywhere. They're accomplishing this goal bit by bit every year.
According to CPPS Chief of Police, Ivan McClelland, the CPPS's focus on enforcement really translates to a concern for keeping the public safe – a particularly important task given the unpredictability of trains.
“Job one is public safety – that’s really what we care about. Every trespass onto railway property or irresponsible action at a crossing is dangerous. Anytime is train time. You just don’t know when the trains are going to be coming.”
McClelland says that the CPPS is expanding by 40 percent over the next four years – a clear indication of their dedication to continuing to aid Operation Lifesaver in its mission to eliminate railway related deaths and injuries.
“We’re increasing our commitment to public safety. We want people to stay off railway property, so they stay safe.”
Canadian Pacific Police Service Facts
CPPS Enforcement Statistics
- CPPS officers have the same power as the RCMP. They can enforce all federal and provincial laws within a one kilometre area centred on CP property.
- In most provinces, CPPS officers are considered Special Constables and have the power to enforce all provincial laws anywhere in the province, even in areas without railways.
- CPPS officers are Public Servants and work for the government, the same as any other police force.
- CPPS Mission Statement: The mission of the Canadian Pacific Police Service is to assist Canadian Pacific to become the safest and most reliable railway in North America. This will be achieved by enhancing public safety, supporting service reliability by reducing train delays, managing and mitigating risk exposure and by protecting personnel, assets and information.
- CPPS is responsible for a 16,000-mile network of tracks in Canada and the US.
- All the money that the CPPS collects in the way of fines goes to the government as part of the Attorney General’s budget
All statistics are for 2010 in the US and Canada
- 2,590 no trespassing signs posted on railway property to educate the public
- 1,646 speeding tickets issued
- 952 people charged with other crossing offences, including: stopping on the tracks, going around the barriers, disobeying the warning signals
- 3,120 trespassers interdicted
- 2,040 people charged with trespassing
- 25% reduction in reported railway property crimes, including graffiti