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Christmas 2005 (3)

Posted in edmonton-police on December 24th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

.: Spent the morning visiting friends and exchanging cards and small gifts. Departing the west end of Edmonton, I decided to take southwest stretch of the new Anthony Henday Drive back to my house on the south side. AHD is the first part of the forthcoming Edmonton ring road, and opened a few weeks ago. Typically there is little traffic on this section, as was the case today. With a speed limit of 90 kph and nothing but wide open space, drivers tend to go a little faster (I was passed two or three times on the way home.) Such was the case today as I approached the end of the sw section, only to be waved down by the police and nailed with a $156 speeding ticket.

One policeman was hiding just inside the front door of the car, operating the laser, the other bolting out onto the highway to flag down the bad, bad speeders. What galls me is that the police would be running a speed trap on a section of new, infrequently-used divided highway, far removed from congested traffic or any dangerous driving conditions. Lord knows they aren’t stoopid: the cops set the trap near the end of the 90 klick section, knowing damn well that by that stretch most drivers would be cruising at a higher speed and paying little attention otherwise. My ticket was strictly part of a cash cow afternoon for the police, and on Dec 24 no less – the objective, ice-cold audacity of the timing is feckin’ brilliant and worthy of applause. I left wondering if this particular tag-team was behind in its dollar quota for the month, but also drained of any Christmas spirit left in me for the duration.

Was I speeding? I was driving faster than 90 kph, no doubt. Was I driving at the speed listed on the ticket? How would I ever know? The police will never let a speeder look at the laser gun, nor are they required to do so. I’ve received speeding tickets in the past, and each time have not questioned the issue. This may be the first speeding ticket I choose to challenge; I’ve already sent an e-mail to my lawyer, requesting advice on how to proceed.

My opinion of the police, which has never been positive, continues to deteriorate, especially after episodes like this. I respect what police must do, but I also believe that to be an effective police officer, it is important to have the capacity to be a bully, and more than once I have been on the wrong end of an encounter with a police officer who was in a bullying mood. It isn’t fun.

Having ruined the afternoons of who knows how many drivers today, I hope they both have a wonderful, Merry Christmas.