REGINA -- The newest officers tasked with keeping Wascana Centre safe have been equipped with specialized bikes.

The community safety officer program officially launched at the beginning of May. The officers have the authority to enforce park bylaws, traffic violations and alcohol or cannabis violations, and can contact police for anything criminal.

The community safety officers' bikes are from a local shop. They have an electric assist feature, which gives an extra boost to the rider and can help the officers respond faster.

“We may not see that while patrolling by on a vehicle on Wascana Drive, but on the bikes, there's no end to places that we can get to in the park and have a look and try keep people safe,” Daryl Chernoff, Manager of the Community Safety Officer Program at Wascana Centre, said.

“We want to be able to get them to that scene, and not have them out of breath, so the electric assist is really helpful in getting them from point A to point B very, very quickly.”

The officers also carry first aid, naloxone and an automatic external defibrillator.

A security organization has been employed the park since the 1960s. It was at one time a police agency, followed by a special constable service, and is now a community safety officer program staffed with special constables.

Their main focus is to act as ambassadors for the park who can provide helpful information to visitors.

“We want people to approach us, we want people to ask questions of ‘is this okay?’” Chernoff said. “We’ve started to pull people over and they're seeing the red and blue lights, they're seeing our officers there. I think a lot of people are getting the idea that there is this enforcement arm within Wascana Centre.”

One resident who visits the park as much as he can said it is a welcomed addition to the area.

“Love to stop and talk to them. They’re always very friendly and they are very much a part of the park,” said Kirk Molder, who visited the park on Wednesday. “It’s a wonderful thing that we have these people visible and coming along the path that we walk when we walk around the lake.”

The officers have jurisdiction within all 2300 acres of Wascana Centre as well as within 500 metres of the boundaries of the park, and patrol seven days a week with a variety of shifts.