Last week was Public Rail Safety Week in Canada, and CPR Officer Mark Tataryn was at Alexander Park Elementary School teaching the kids about rail safety.
“They’re so impressionable at a young age. We try to get to the high school kids too, but we want to catch them as young as possible,” said Kevin Hrysak, a media relations manager with CPR who came out to Golden to participate in rail safety activities around town.
Tataryn is the only CPR Officer in Golden, and has a wide region to cover. Although he is under federal jurisdiction, and has the authority to enforce all Canadian laws, his main priority is rail safety.
In the past year, the number of incidents involving rail crossing has increased amongst all Canadian rail companies.
“Unfortunately in Canada, those numbers with all railways are up,” said Hrysak. “It’s not a huge number, but one incident is more than we want to see.”
CPR officers can issue tickets for trespassing for $100 to $300, and can even make charges under the federal act which can see fines of up to $10,000.
“Sometimes warnings just don’t get through to people. If you hit them in the wallet a bit, maybe they’ll think twice next time,” said Hrysak.
“We don’t benefit from the monetary value of tickets, it all goes to the provincial jurisdiction that we’re in.”
Safety is the main priority, but CPR officers also act as peace officers throughout town, and have an obligation to act if they see a law being broken.
They have the authority to arrest or detain people, just like an RCMP officer.
They work closely with other emergency services, especially law enforcement.
“We do value our relationships with local law enforcement, and hopefully we share the same goal of protecting the public,” said Hrysak.
The Canadian Pacific Police Service has 25 field offices in Canada and the United States, with their headquarters in Calgary.