Interchange - Winter 2010 - (Page 29)

Putting Teeth in Trespass Prevention Saskatchewan’s CP police get new tools to combat violators WHEN RON CHOMYN joined the CP Police Service in Saskatchewan in 2005, he quickly faced a dangerous trespassing situation in Saskatoon, where local residents treated railway’s tracks and yards as convenient shortcuts between residences, shopping malls and bars. In fact, Chomyn recalls more stupid behaviour by the public in four years with the railway than during 23 years with the Saskatoon Police Service. Among them: children playing around freight cars or women hauling baby strollers through the yard, oblivious to the danger of a passing train or a possibility that standingstill cars could suddenly begin moving. People on bikes would race trains to level crossings. One woman lost two toes when her foot jammed in the coupler of freight cars. That’s not to mention university students returning from y g an evening’s revelry, staggering through y rds an cursing ng through yar and through yards railway employees railway emp oyees i ilway empl warning th w rning warning them of the dangers dangers dange they face. t y face. they face. And in And rural rural ral areas and areas and eas a northern northern northe parts parts rts of the o the province, prov province, ATV AT riders and r ders rider snowmobilers ride along railway rights of way, adding to Chomyn’s lengthy list of foolishness on railway property. The heart of the problem, he said, is a widespread misconception that railway lands are public property. And while many provinces have functional anti-trespassing laws, Saskatchewan didn’t until July. Chomyn himself played a significant role in that change. Once he realized the scope of the trespassing problem, he began enlisting community and business groups in a campaign to convince politicians the province’s antitrespassing laws needed the kind of teeth that would discourage people from wandering on railway property. He got his reward when the Saskatchewan government passed a statute allowing CP police and other law enforcement agencies to issue $250 fi nes, just like police forces ticket traffic speeders. “This is a huge tool for us,” he said. “We have what g we want and now we can i issue summons to offenders. It will make us far more effective. Our focus is on improving effec railway safety and this provision makes it easier for us pro to deal with the problem. It’s a safety issue. We wanted I something that was a real deterrent so we can go after d repeat offenders.” The railway plans a con concerted effort to use the statute fi ne as basis for an educati program to reach those who education have missed earlier attempts by the railways – including attemp Operation Lifesaver – to explain the dangers of being too ex close to a passing train, as well as hiking through rail yards and past standing freight cars. c The railway police will issue warnings to innocent trespassers and tickets to r repeat offenders. “In the past, we didn’t have a way to deal with those h who continually use our pr property as a short cut. It’s a who e dangerous way to try to save a few minutes,” Chomyn dang rous dangerou to said. “We’ve had fa fatalities here and in other parts said sa d. of the country w where people, often with music e blaring over th earphones, decide to cut their blarin ring across or walk along the tracks without across o wa paying any attention to the possibility a train could be coming. People see our cou tracks as a pedestrian highway.” a continued on page 30 I Interchange Winter 2010 29

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Interchange - Winter 2010

Interchange - Winter 2010
Table of Contents
President’s Message
Côté Helped Change VIA’s Culture
High-Speed Trains Proven Around the World
Putting Teeth in Trespass Prevention
The Class of 2009
Moving the Olympic Spirit
Industry News and Developments
Index to Advertisers

Interchange - Winter 2010