THUNDER BAY – Editorial – Thunder Bay Police Chief JP Lesveque is proving to be innovative. Yesterday, the Thunder Bay Police parked their cruisers and several uniformed officers were onboard Thunder Bay Transit buses.
TBPS report, “About a half dozen Thunder Bay Police officers with the assistance of Canadian Pacific Railway Police and CN Police officers have been working in teams to detect and charge drivers using cell phones. The officer riding the bus has an elevated view of unsuspecting drivers and are able to radio the other team members to advise of the violation”.
The real benefit to this kind of approach isn’t having officers laying charges on vehicle drivers who might have been using their phones or not wearing their seat belts.
The real benefit was putting officers front and centre with the public. That approach really helps.
It gets officers face to face with the people who they serve. Street patrols, bus riding officers, and other similar measures will boost the level of engagement and trust between police officers and the public.
The police were able to focus on their primary task, drivers who were either driving distracted or without seat belts. The number of charges laid are as follows:
Hand held telecommunication device (texting and using a cell phone while driving) – 11
Seat belt (missing, not wearing) – 4
Document violations – 5
Police state, “It has been determined that this method of detection is effective and will be continued in the future. It should be noted that only those violations that were deemed to be easily proven in court were laid. Many more were seen but officers focused their efforts on those that were plainly obvious”.
The real plus to the effort was putting police officers in a position for engaging with the public. And that appears to be a success too.