Snowmobile Trail Officer Patrol (S.T.O.P.) is a partnership between the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs. This community based enforcement program uses the assistance of Special Constables to better the sport of snowmobiling. The goals of the S.T.O.P. program are to;
Increase public awareness of snowmobile safety and the dangers of drinking and riding a snowmobile
Educate snowmobilers on safety and nuisance concerns and promoting voluntary compliance with the snowmobile laws.
Enforce the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act (M.S.V.A.) and, where applicable, municipal snowmobile bylaws
This authority comes from the Police Services Act and is granted by the government. This gives a S.T.O.P. Officer special powers for the Province of Ontario only to enforce the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act (M.S.V.A.) only for a set period of time.
The power to write tickets comes from the Provincial Offences Act Section 1(3) and the designation of Special Constables is signed by the Solicitor General. This permits the Commissioner of the O.P.P. to appoint the S.T.O.P. Officers as Special Constables. The O.P.P. Provincial Coordinator holds the signed designation in Orillia empowering the S.T.O.P. Officers to be appointed as Special Constables to enforce the M.S.V.A.
Because S.T.O.P. officers are snowmobilers and not police officers, their mandate is to improve the sport rather than enforce the law. They must walk a fine line between providing enough regulation to deal with problems, but not so much that they take the fun out of the sport.
S.T.O.P. is now heralded as a classic example of community policing. Snowmobilers are a community that has a problem. Rather than rely exclusively on police officers to deal with it, they have chosen to participate fully in the solution.
If you are interested in learning more about the S.T.O.P. program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org