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"Those who hate the high-speed highway will be overjoyed to learn the brake lights will soon be flashing.

Those who think 110 km/h is ridiculously slow -- get ready to see red.

The news was broken via an Alberta Government press release sent out yesterday, lauding the work of traffic sheriffs in nabbing speeders along Hwy. 63, the thin and highly busy road connecting Edmonton and Fort McMurray.

Six of the sheriffs, based in a satellite station in the town of Boyle, have issued to tickets to a staggering 5,700 motorists since their mini-cop shop opened six months ago.

As well, the officers -- who are strictly focused on highway traffic violations -- have arrested 37 suspected drunks and dealt with 17 crashes.

It's damned impressive, and not very surprising, given that the job of these half-dozen sheriffs is to stop speeders, and little else.

On most Alberta highways, catching speeders is like fishing in a barrel -- with a shotgun.

And there, on the bottom of the press release, is a short sentence, one which promises to curtail the high-speed hijinx of anyone using the highway north of Calgary:

"Traffic sheriffs' satellite offices are also being considered for Whitecourt and Olds," says the release.

Most people, by now, are aware of the Alberta Sheriff program, started two years ago next month to bolster law enforcement on highways.

By the end of summer, 105 sheriffs will be patrolling highways across the province, and the most recent statistics show they've issued 144,041 tickets, including 2,047 charges this past long weekend.

But the sheriffs are currently spread far and wide, and you're almost as likely to encounter one cruising on Hwy. 22 in the neighbourhood of Longview as you are to find one on the QEII.

Opening a satellite sheriff station in Olds, 80 km north of Calgary, will change that situation dramatically, putting a force of highway cops in the midst of the mayhem.

Those in the government suggest it's probably more a matter of when, than if.

"There's certainly a need for it, and we are considering it, though there's nothing firm to announce yet," commented Eilish Lemieux, spokeswoman for the Solicitor General's office.

"We're looking at a number of satellite offices, but Olds and Whitecourt are the ones most frequently mentioned."

As it did in Boyle, a satellite office in Olds would have sheriffs are concentrated along one stretch of road, and instead of one speeder being nabbed by the rare patrolling police officer, it would mean multiple speed traps.

Given the same number of sheriffs as posted in Boyle, a half-dozen Olds-based sheriffs would equate to one ticket-issuing officer for every 25 kilometres of highway."

The Calgary Sun - Red Deer road rally will come to an end with arrival of sheriffs
 

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Well there goes the neighbourhood. I know Hwy 63 is like suicide. If your not in a big diesel pick-up, then you had better get out of the way. It's insane, I think I heard the average on that stretch is something like 140kmh and it's a 2 lane highway! If you get the chance sometime, look in the ditches on #63 in the spring. Bottle/beer can collecting bonanza
 
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