The long arm of the law in B.C. has been extended with Saturday's announcement the province has hired 13 new deputy sheriffs.
One of them will be coming to work in Prince George.
Nine of the new sheriffs have been assigned to maintain safety in the courthouses of the Lower Mainland, while one each will be sent to Williams Lake, Terrace and Nelson. They all graduated in November from the sherriff academy program of the Justice Institute of B.C., based in New Westminster.
"By training these new sheriffs, we are helping to alleviate pressures in the courts and ensure B.C. courthouses are safe and secure," said Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond the MLA for Prince George-Valemount.
The province's sheriff service has grown by 15 per cent over the past two years, from 465 sheriffs to the current 533 now working in 45 courthouses and 44 circuit courts in B.C. The new recruits are among 36 deputy sheriffs hired this year.
"A strong justice system requires support on a number of fronts, and the addition of these new sheriff resources will ensure that courtrooms continue to run in an orderly and safe manner," said B.C.'s chief sheriff Dave Maedel.
"Our graduates complete rigorous and challenging training at the Justice Institute before being deployed to locations across the province where they will work with their more than 500 colleagues."
Their duties include providing prisoner escorts between courthouses, correctional centres and police jail cells; maintaining courthouse and courtroom security, including the management of courthouse detention facilities; jury management; and providing protection services to government agencies, as well as threat assessment expertise for ministries.
Earlier this month, the province announced the appointment of nine new judges.