Province Introduces Marshals Services

Today the Government of Saskatchewan announced it is fulfilling the announcement made in the Throne Speech and is developing a new Saskatchewan Marshals Service (SMS) consisting of approximately 70 officers and expanding the Crime Reduction Team (CRT) and Warrant Enforcement and Suppression Team (WEST).

"We know there are areas in Saskatchewan that need more visible, active policing," Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said. "The SMS will provide that, and work with RCMP and municipal police to strengthen law enforcement across the entire province." The SMS is expected to be operational by mid-to-late 2026, at an annual cost of approximately $20 million. "In total, these new initiatives represent over $23 million in additional annual funding to enhance and expand law enforcement across our province," Tell said. "The Marshals Service and the expansions to WEST and CRT build on previous steps we have taken in recent years, such as the development of the Provincial Protective Services Branch and funding for the Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team, to keep Saskatchewan people and communities safe." In April of this year the Government announced the establishment of the Provincial Protective Services Branch which united conservation, highway patrol, Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Officers, prisoner transport and court security deputy sheriffs, and Wascana Park community safety officers into one organizational structure.

WEST was first announced in November of 2021 and became active operations in April 2022. WEST relies on an Electronic Monitoring Global Positioning System (EM GPS) which was said would reduce reoffending and help offenders reintegrate in the community. EM GPS allows police to monitor offenders and identify when they have violated their geographical constraints as long as it remains in place on the offender. It relies on a network of satellites that tracks and records the individual's location and movements throughout the course of the day. With the announcement today, WEST will be expanded into Prince Albert at a cost of approximately $1.6 million annually. Comprised of eight RCMP officers, the unit will also include an analyst and one administrative support position. The new team is expected to be operational in late 2023-24 (fiscal year).

The Marshall Service will have police authority throughout the province and will provide an additional law enforcement presence across Saskatchewan supporting the RCMP and municipal police where appropriate. Their duties will include responding to areas with high crime rates, apprehending offenders with outstanding arrest warrants and investigating farming-related offenses like theft and trespassing. The SMS will function as an independent agency and will report to Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, while the RCMP will remain the provincial police service of jurisdiction.

A new CRT unit will be established in the Battlefords region, and will consist of eight officers, one analyst and one administrative support position. Government will provide approximately $1.6 million annually to fund the unit, which is expected to be operational in late 2023-24 (fiscal year). The CRT's mandate is to target street gangs and prolific offenders and respond to urban and rural crime surges. This expansion increases the total number of CRT units in the province from 9 to 10.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder