Drivesmart: Why no traffic cops at work?

You might be surprised to learn this was a topic of conversation among my colleagues when we sat down for a coffee break during a shift.

You might be surprised to learn that this was a topic of conversation among my colleagues when we sat down for a coffee break during a shift.

Most often one of us would have been travelling during their vacation and the remark would be something along the lines of “I drove all the way to X and back and didn’t see anyone stopping violators!”

Maybe there is something to the remark, “Where’s a cop when you need one?”

The units I worked on included Fort St. John, with a corporal and five constables. South Okanagan was staffed with a sergeant, a corporal and 10 constables. Central Vancouver Island manpower included a sergeant, two corporals and nine constables. The majority of the on-road work was done by the constables and administration by the sergeants and corporals.

That seems like a lot of resources until you consider that there were other demands for time that could include collision investigation, court, training courses, impaired driving investigations (before the IRP program this could easily consume half a shift) and the dread of us all: paperwork. Days off, annual vacation, sick leave and the need to cover both day and afternoon shifts spread us more thinly than we would have liked.

It’s not surprising that you don’t see flashing lights that identify traffic law enforcement in progress when you travel on B.C.’s highways.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca