Speed checks do more than just hand out tickets. (Citizen file)

Speed checks do more than just hand out tickets. (Citizen file)

Column Drivesmart: Giving civilians taste of job was good learning tool

By the end of my policing service this was no longer possible.

By Tim Schewe

Sometimes taking a citizen on patrol and making them the supervisor is much better than trying to explain what I did in my job every day. One opportunity from my past still sticks with me.

During the ride along I stopped a variety of vehicles, had conversations with drivers and wrote tickets and warnings. In each case I explained why I had handled the situation the way I did.

He commented on what he was seeing and how he felt some of the issues we faced could have been dealt with. That gave me the chance to learn too.

At the end of the tour I mentioned that we had stopped a lot of speeding drivers but had done a lot more than just write speeding tickets. He agreed and headed for home with a better understanding of what traffic policing was all about.

By the end of my policing service this was no longer possible. A policy change had forbidden taking citizens out on an operational patrol. I understand why the change was made in the face of increasing risk to uniformed officers doing routine duties but it’s also an opportunity missed for a sharing of viewpoints.

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