VIEWPOINT - Traffic Policing Priorities in Port Alice

SoapboxThe disposal of beer cans and bottles out of vehicle windows along the twenty mile stretch of road between the main highway cut off and the Port Alice mill is not only a sad commentary about the local transient population, but it also means that an immense amount of drinking and driving has been going on. This has been occurring for many years with no attempt at correction.

On a daily basis while walking along the road we can harvest and have harvested a full garbage bag of cans over a one kilometer distance and we have counted over two hundred cans as we have driven the twenty miles. There are quite possibly twice that number in the ditches.

When a group of traffic control mounties appeared a week or so ago we thought that something was about to be done. Unfortunately they were interested only in whether or not there was a front license installed and that men returning from work in the forest had their wallets with them .... a very obvious cash grab from those who are working for a living.

The priorities regarding traffic control in this area in my opinion are truly skewed toward the ridiculous and the irrelevant, and they are bringing the RCMP enforcers down to the level of Mexican traffic authorities who routinely shake down the traveling public on any pretext.

lf you can forward this message to the appropriate agency within the RCMP you would be doing this area a real service. The need is great!


Depends on Your Point of View

I agree with you completely. One of the most important jobs in traffic policing is to deal with impaired drivers. I never passed up a chance when I found one.

As for the drink containers in the ditch, I've observed the same thing beside the road leading to my home. Liquor containers outnumbered soft drink containers there too. I guess if you don't care about drinking and driving, you don't care about littering either.

Now we get to your cash grab remark. What happens when someone is convicted of impaired driving? They lose their driver's license as part of the prohibition applied as penalty. What simpler way is there to catch unlicensed and prohibited drivers than to operate a road check and ask all drivers to produce it? If they can't, you pull them out of line and find out why not. We all know that we are required to carry it with us when driving and produce it on demand of the police. If you decide to ignore the rule, you also decide to risk the consequences, in this case a ticket for failing to produce.

We can also make a case for license plates. If they are not there and not legible, how do you report the oncoming vehicle that runs you off the road, is lurking in your neighbourhood and doesn't belong or goes by your house every morning at 6:00 am with no muffler? Again, we know they have to be there and if we choose not to display them properly we choose to risk the consequences.

This is not a routine shakedown. More often than not it is a wake up call for lazy people, but occasionally taking a moment to deal with "pretexts" like these hit the jackpot. Pulling the vehicle over and talking to the driver might uncover an impaired driver, stolen property, drugs, illegal firearms and more. One of my co-workers in Princeton found a stolen vehicle with the owner locked in the trunk during a "pretext" traffic stop.

The policing agencies responsible for your area include the local detachment and North Island IRSU. You are always encouraged to report observations like this to either or both of them. Contact information for them can be found on the RCMP's web site.

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