Stampede Park is bustling with events this year, bringing global crowds to Calgary. 

The Calgary Stampede and the 24th World Petroleum Congress (WPC) are both being held at Stampede Park and are expected to host tens of thousands of attendees at each event. 

Calgary Police Commission (CPC) joined Calgary Police Service (CPS) for their regular meeting on June 28, 2023, to discuss public safety and proper policing protocol for events of such magnitude. 

As per section 19.1 of the Calgary Commission Policy, the Calgary Stampede and the WPC are considered major policing events. As such, CPS is responsible for providing safety and security responses. 

“Our focus is the safety of our patrons, the safety of our attendees and also maintaining safety and the high-level service to the rest of the City of Calgary during these events,” said J.F. Dery of the CPS.

Safety planning for the Calgary Stampede

Calgary Police Service (CPS) they’ve got a detailed plan to police the Calgary Stampede this year. Expecting an attendance of 300,000 at the parade alone, CPS is preparing for 1.5 million visitors overall. 

CPS said that they’re working closely with the Calgary Stampede board, partners at the City of Calgary and other organizers to develop an effective and well-developed policing plan, growing from learned lessons from previous years. 

“We also looked at lessons learned in the past and we’ve involved the public safety compliance team,” said Dery.

Positive experiences in previous years prompted CPS to deploy the amnesty program, which will ask visitors to voluntarily leave prohibited items like weapons, alcohol and drugs at the door. In order to enforce this program, along with other safety services, CPS is pulling resources from multiple units including CPS, Bylaw Services, Alberta Health Services and others. 

Policing at night will be mainly focused at the concert tents to monitor overcrowding, over-serving and breach of licencing. 

Other safety and security units that CPS is engaging include Tsuut’ina Nation Police Service, Community Youth Services, Violent Crime Suppression Team, Diversity Resource Team, the mountain bike unit and an additional public safety response team. CPS is currently in discussion with Blood Tribe Police Service about joining the Stampede safety team. 

“We’ve looked at risk assessments, after action reports, [from] previous years…as of now, it’s slated to be a very positive event, there’s nothing that we’re not liking,” said Dery. 

World Petroleum Congress safety

In their second of three updates in the public forum, the Calgary Police Service (CPS) and a spokesperson from the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) offered insight into how they plan to ensure safety at the 24th WPC in Calgary. 

WPC is set to take place on September 17 to 21, 2023 at Stampede Park with an expected 15,000 visitors and 5,000 delegates from more than 100 countries. WPC will put Calgary on a global stage which makes CPS responsible for safety and security responses. 

Further background information on this event can be found here

At the regular public meeting for CPS, Jason Archibald, project manager for WPC said that the project is on track to finish on time and on budget. Currently, there is no intelligence that suggests a direct threat.  

Public communication will be coordinated between CPS, the City of Calgary and external partners. The third update will be delivered in a public forum just before the WPC on September 14, 2023. 

CPS said that safety and security concerns for an event of this kind have been considered. In preparation for possible breaches of public safety, CPS has stated that they have done extensive research and have sent members of the service to Houston when the city hosted the 23rd WPC.

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Isabella West is a fourth-year Journalism student at MRU. She completed her work term over the summer of 2023 at LiveWire Calgary in partnership with the Calgary Journal.