Having spent 20 years in traffic enforcement I'm always curious if I will see any of it being done when I travel on our highways. Unfortunately I have to say that I very rarely see a police vehicle in my travels, much less one stopped at the side of the road dealing with a driver. The erratic driver I saw this morning brought the question to mind "where's a cop when you need one?"
At my last posting we typically had three dedicated traffic enforcement personnel on shift at any one time, assuming no one was taking time off, sick or in court. We three could be anywhere on literally hundreds of kilometers of highway within our patrol district. It's not a surprise that you could drive and not meet up with one of use on any given day.
The Ministry of Justice's documents show 396 dedicated provincial traffic policing positions in 2010. What isn't shown is whether these positions are actually filled with officers who are fit for duty and on the job. If they are not full, this may explain why I'm not seeing active traffic enforcement around me when I drive.
When I consider that I am more likely to suffer financial loss, injury or death in the operation of my vehicle than I am through all other criminal causes combined my perceived lack of enforcement is distressing. Yes, I may just be in the wrong place at the wrong time to not see policing in action. Not seeing it on a continual basis cannot be a good thing.
The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit www.drivesmartbc.ca.
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Tim Schewe has been writing his column for most of the 20 years in his traffic enforcement service in the RCMP. It was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and now Castanet.net. Schewe retired from the Force in January of 2006, but the column became a habit and continues.
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