Bylaw Enforcement Officer

A bylaw enforcement officer is a law enforcement employee of a municipality, county or regional district, charged with the enforcement of non-criminal bylaws, rules, laws, codes or regulations enacted by local governments.

This terminology is commonly used in Canada and some other Commonwealth countries. In the Canadian province of Ontario, bylaw enforcement officers are generally titled municipal law enforcement officers, and in Newfoundland & Labrador, the term municipal enforcement officer is also used.

In the Canadian province of Alberta, municipalities can appoint bylaw enforcements officers under the authority of section 555 and 556 of the Municipal Government Act. There is a common misconception that all bylaw officers are community peace officers. However, a person appointed as a community peace officer can only enforce provincial acts and regulations. A community peace officer is not authorized to enforce municipal bylaws unless they are also appointed under the authority of the Municipal Government Act, or if the specific bylaw states it can be enforced by a community peace officer working for that municipality. There are a number of municipalities in Alberta whose officers enforce only municipal bylaws as bylaw officers, others that only enforce provincial acts as community peace officers, and others that hold dual municipal and provincial appointments.

Municipalities in the United States more frequently use the terms code enforcement officer or municipal regulations officer, although code enforcement officers in the United States often have a narrower scope of duties than municipal bylaw enforcement officers in Canada. Code enforcement officers in the United States are more like property standards officers in Canada. In the United Kingdom, the word warden is commonly used to describe various classes of non-police enforcement officers, and sometimes the title of inspector is also used in various jurisdictions. An environmental warden in Edinburgh, Scotland has duties very similar to those of a bylaw enforcement officer employed by a similar-sized city in Canada.

In Australia, the terms law enforcement officer, Shire Ranger or local laws officer are used for general-duty bylaw enforcement, traffic officer for parking enforcement only, and animal management officer (formerly known as ranger or council ranger) for animal-related enforcement.

In Germany, the term Ordnungsamt or Gemeindevollzugsdienst is used for general-duty bylaw enforcement; Gemeindevollzugsdienst is more commonly used to refer to bylaw enforcement in the German state of Baden-W├╝rttemberg.

Read more about Bylaw Enforcement OfficerDevelopment of The Field, Today's Bylaw Officers

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