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Bylaw enforcement officer

Ordnungsamt officers in Cologne, Germany
Bylaw enforcement patch from Delta, British Columbia

A bylaw enforcement officer (also called municipal law enforcement or municipal enforcement) is an employee of a municipality, county or regional district, charged with the enforcement of local ordinancebylaws, laws, codes, or regulations enacted by local governments. Bylaw enforcement officers often work closely with police and other law enforcement agencies, but are generally not considered emergency services.

This terminology is commonly used in North America—particularly 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, Alberta and the Northwest Territories, the term municipal enforcement officer is also used. In German speaking countries the term Ordnungsamt, literally translated "Order Office", is widely used. Under other denominations, this kind of bylaw enforcement exists in several countries around the world.

By jurisdiction


In Australia, the terms law enforcement officer, shire ranger and 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.


A Calgary Bylaw Services car blocks the road during the 2017 Calgary Pride Parade.

In Canada, municipal law enforcement officers are generally referred to as bylaw enforcement officers.[1][2] Every municipality in Canada is authorized to develop and enforce municipal by-laws,[3] but each province and territory regulates the authority of municipal law enforcement agencies differently. Rather than operate an in-house bylaw enforcement division, municipalities may rely on police services, contracted commissionaires, or private firms for bylaw enforcement.[4][5][6][7]

Shoulder flash of a Coquitlam bylaw officer.


In most Canadian municipalities, bylaw enforcement officers are tasked with the enforcement of the regulations or by-laws of their employer, and are usually operate on an as-requested basis.[8][9][10][11]

In all three territories, however, as well as the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, some — but not all — municipal enforcement agencies also enforce provincial legislation and control traffic.[12][4] In Alberta and Saskatchewan, bylaw enforcement officers can be additionally trained and appointed as community peace officers or community safety officers, respectively. These community officers maintain a proactive presence; have additional authority to enforce provincial legislation, conduct traffic enforcement, and, in Saskatchewan, field complaints for minor criminal offences; and will sometimes respond to 9-1-1 calls alongside fire services, paramedics, and police.[13][14]

Peace officer status

All bylaw enforcement officers employed in Canada are peace officers; in most provinces, bylaw officers are explicitly appointed as peace officers or special constables for the purpose of enforcing municipal laws,[15][16] while in others, such as British Columbia, enforcement officers get their authority from court decisions that have ruled that bylaw officers count as "other person[s] employed for the preservation or maintenance of the public peace or for the service or execution of civil process."[17][18]


Chengguan vehicle in Beijing

In the mainland of the People's Republic of China (PRC) every city established a so-called Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau, commonly abbreviated to Chengguan (Chinese: 城管; pinyin: Chéngguǎn) as a local government agency for bylaw enforcement duties.[19]

The Chengguan is part of a city or municipality's Urban Management Bureau (Chinese: 城市管理局; pinyin: Chéngshì Guǎnlǐ Jú).[20] The agency enforces local bylaws, city appearance bylaws, environment, sanitation, work safety, pollution control, health, and can involve enforcement in planning, greening, industry and commerce, environment protection, municipal affairs and water in large cities.[20]

Patrol car of Ordnungsamt Fulda, Germany


In Germany order enforcement offices are established under the state's laws and local regulations under different terms like Ordnungsamt (order enforcement office), Ordnungsdienst (order enforcement service), Gemeindevollzugsdienst (municipal code enforcement office) or Polizeibehörde (police authority). Beside this some German communities implemented Stadtpolizei (city police) forces for general-duty law enforcement. Currently there are no general regulations or standards for the training, there are different responsibilities and powers. The equipment and uniforms differ from town to town, some carry weapons and wear police-like or police uniforms, others just wear labeled jackets over plain clothes. Most of the order enforcement offices are established by the municipalities, but can be established by the rural districts for their area of competence as well.[21][22][23]

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, this service is called Handhaving (Dutch for "Enforcement") or Handhaving en Toezicht (Dutch for "Enforcement and Surveillance"), and the police-like uniforms carry this inscription in most cities as well. The officials of these municipal authorities actively address people who are against the city regulations and are present in public places.[24] The responsibilities of Handhaving include:[25]

  • drug harassment or alcohol abuse
  • review of prostitution permits, detection of abuses such as human trafficking
  • increasing objective and subjective security in public spaces and public transport
  • the towing of dangerously parked vehicles

New Zealand

In New Zealand, local governments such as district/city councils usually appoint persons to undertake certain enforcement duties. Councils can employ persons such as: Enforcement Officers, Animal Control Officers, Parking Officers, Noise Control Officers, and Litter Officers. These positions are granted role-specific powers under legislation. Common parts of their roles include enforcing bylaws made by the local council, such as dog-leash rules or parking restrictions during special events. Abuse against these government employees is commonplace and safety measures have started to take effect, such as body-worn cameras.


Metro Manila has traffic enforcers, employed by the Metro Manila Development Authority to enforce traffic by-laws along with the Philippine National Police, as well as laws pertaining to cleanliness in the streets. They do not carry the powers of arrest which is reserved to the police and only issue citation tickets for violators.

United States

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.

United Kingdom

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.

See also


  1. ^ "By-law Enforcement Officer in Canada". Government of Canada Job Bank.
  2. ^ "Bylaw Officer". Justice Institute of British Columbia.
  3. ^ "Municipal Government in Canada". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
  4. ^ a b "Bylaw unit to be operated by City, not police". paNOW. 2020-07-02. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
  5. ^ "Parking Enforcement". City of Windsor. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
  6. ^ "Welcome to Municipal Support Services". Municipal Support Services.
  7. ^ "By-Law Enforcement". Rural Municipality of Alexander.
  8. ^ "Community By-law Enforcement Services". City of Winnipeg. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
  9. ^ "By-laws and Enforcement". City of Hamilton. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
  10. ^ "CBRM By-Laws". Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
  11. ^ "Parking Bylaw Enforcement". City of Summerside. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
  12. ^ "Municipal Enforcement". City of Iqaluit. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
  13. ^ "Community Safety Officer". Weyburn Police Service.
  14. ^ "Cleaning up the peace officer role confusion in Alberta". Blue Line Magazine. 15 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Police Services Act R.S.O. 1990, c. P.15, s. 15 (1)". 24 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Bylaw unit to be operated by City, not police".
  17. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Local Government Compliance and Enforcement Association of BC.
  18. ^ Criminal Code of Canada, sec. 2
  19. ^[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ a b "苏州市城市管理局". Archived from the original on 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
  21. ^ "Aufgaben und Rechte: Was das Ordnungsamt darf". Deutsche Anwaltauskunft. 17 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Das Ordnungsamt - Funktion und Aufgaben".
  23. ^ "Ordnungsamt - Aufgaben und Befugnisse".
  24. ^ "toezicht en handhaving". Archived from the original on 2019-04-13. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  25. ^ "Toezicht en Handhaving".


United States


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Bylaw enforcement officer
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