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Colwood bylaw officers to wear bulletproof vests

Nov 11 2012

Colwood bylaw officers will soon wear an extra layer of protection while enforcing municipal regulations.

The municipality has agreed to spent $3,500 to purchase bulletproof vests for its three bylaw officers, something already adopted by Victoria, Langford, Surrey and Kelowna.

A review of the level of threat faced by the officers revealed that the vests would be a wise purchase, bylaw officer Kevin Atkinson said last week.

"Most of the time, people are compliant, but sometimes they do get excited or agitated when we're doing our job," Atkinson said.

Officers are at risk of being attacked by a knife or other weapons, he said.

"We've encountered kids with hammers, with knives ... and we do support the RCMP in regards to loud parties and mischief."

The vests "are just another level of protection afforded to us," Atkinson said, comparing it to a construction worker wearing steel-toe boots, a hard hat and a high visibility vest.

"We're not changing our level of enforcement. We're just meeting our current risk assessment," he said.

The officers handle everything from building without permits to noise complaints. They may stop trucks using routes that they are not authorized to use. Bylaw officers also watch for people drinking alcohol in parks.

"We're working side by side with the RCMP in some matters. We're not dealing necessarily with nice people."

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