Beware the Flower Clown and Other Roadside Characters

Cst. Martell in disguiseI would imagine that your opinion of police traffic surveillance tactics probably depends a lot on whether you are the recipient of a ticket or not because of them. You may have actually seen Corporal Smith in Nanaimo dressed up as the Easter Bunny or Constable Martell of Kelowna wearing a hoodie and holding up a sign made of cardboard. They certainly got to see a lot of traffic violators and provided information to pick up teams a bit further down the road.

They should not be doing enforcement unless they are in uniform! Undignified...civil societies depend on fairness and good examples. This sounds a bit like sour grapes to me; the police should stand out so I have a chance to avoid being caught is what I might be hearing in these comments.

In a playful mood one day I stopped my fully marked police car on the side of the highway, turned on all the emergency lights and "hid" behind it to work laser speed enforcement. The traffic flow was moderate and I seldom waited long for the next violator to come along. Perhaps I needed a sign announcing speed enforcement ahead as an additional warning?

Laugh or cry over it, disguise is a valid form of law enforcement investigation and I see no reason that police should feel embarrassed to use it or that the public should require them to stop. It is not unfair or uncivilized, but it could be a little undignified. To those officers who are willing to be laughed at for the cause, my hat is off to you!

Thank you for the column on disguise and arrest. I think this is a great way to catch scofflaws who use their cell phones to talk and text. I have even seen some drivers with dashboard TVs on. All this rude behaviour is really annoying and I am wondering if there is a way that citizens like me can report the offender? Would a photograph work?

I have written elsewhere on the site about making a driving complaint to the police. A photograph is not necessary, but in this case it would certainly provide very visible evidence that could convince the court to convict. How can the driver argue that he wasn't doing what you testify he was doing when faced with a photograph? You are not the first to suggest this, last week's article is based on an e-mail from someone who did take a photo of the driver and submitted it to police.