By David F. Rooney
The debate on The Stoke List regarding the bike crackdown seems to have died down in the last few days but there are a four or five posts on it — two of which I thought I’d add to The Current.
The first one appears to have been written by an anonymous Mountie and is really quite amusing. Enjoy…
Bike Laws, Police Harassment, etc – Free (Revelstoke)
Regarding the bike law “harassment” in the Police State of Revelstoke…
“First of all, let me tell you this…it’s not easy. In Revelstoke, we average one cop for every 340 people. About 80% of those cops are on general duty (or what you might refer to as “patrol”) where we do most of our harassing.
The rest are in non-harassing departments that limits contact with the day to day innocents.
At any given moment, only one-fifth of the 80% patrollers are on duty and available for harassing people while the rest are off duty. So roughly, one cop is responsible for harassing about 2,083 residents.
When you toss in the commercial business and tourist locations that attract people from other areas, sometimes you have a situation where a single cop is responsible for harassing 10,000 or more people a day.
Now, your average ten-hour shift runs 36,000 seconds long. This gives a cop one second to harass a person, and then only three-fourths of a second to eat a donut AND then find a new person to harass. This is not an easy task. To be honest, most cops are not up to this challenge day in and day out. It is just too tiring. What we do is utilize some tools to help us narrow down those people which we can realistically harass.
The tools available to us are as follows:
PHONE: People will call us up and point out things that cause us to focus on a person for special harassment. “My neighbor is beating his wife” is a code phrase used often.. This means we’ll come out and give somebody some special harassment. Another popular one is, “There’s a guy breaking into a house.” The harassment team is then put into action.
CARS: We have special cops assigned to harass people who drive. They like to harass the drivers of fast cars, cars with no insurance or no driver’s licenses and the like. It’s lots of fun when you pick them out of traffic for nothing more obvious than running a red light. Sometimes you get to really heap the harassment on when you find they have drugs in the car, they are drunk, or have an outstanding warrant on file.
RUNNERS: Some people take off running just at the sight of a police officer. Nothing is quite as satisfying as running after them like a beagle on the scent of a bunny. When you catch them you can harass them for hours.
STATUTES: When we don’t have PHONES or CARS and have nothing better to do, there are actually books that give us ideas for reasons to harass folks. They are called “Statutes”; Criminal Codes, Motor Vehicle Act, etc… They all spell out all sorts of things for which you can really mess with people. After you read the statute, you can just drive around for a while until you find someone violating one of these listed offenses and harass them.
Just last week I saw a guy trying to steal a car. Well, there’s this book we have that says that’s not allowed. That meant I got permission to harass this guy. It is a really cool system that we have set up, and it works pretty well.
We seem to have a never-ending supply of folks to harass. And we get away with it. Why? Because for the good citizens who pay the tab, we try to keep the streets safe for them, and they pay us to “harass” some people.
Next time you are in my town, give us the old “single finger wave.” That’s another one of those codes. It means, “You can harass me.” It’s one of our favorites.
re: bike laws, police harassment etc – ()
Obviously, sarcasm aside, there is a need for laws to stop criminals. Of course we want you to apprehend wife-beaters, car thieves, murders and even motorists driving drunk through red lights. But you don’t truly think that these bike issues at hand fall under this same category do you? Giving a ticket to a child for riding on the sidewalk?
Maybe here lies the reason people have taken this enforcement badly. Your post even said it: you are trying to “keep the streets safe for the good citizens”. Is someone a BAD citizen for wanting their child to ride on the sidewalk? If I had kids I would think that that would be the safest place for them to be, for everyone concerned. Can you not see how this is alienating some citizens? Maybe you’ve heard of the saying ‘choose your battles’. Well maybe the people of Revelstoke would have more respect for the police if they chose their battles more wisely. If you must give a ticket to cyclists without helmets, ok. It will hopefully save their lives. Sure, stop the person who is cycling dangerously. But leave the kid on the sidewalk alone.