Policing in Action

Ever heard the saying “there’s never a cop around when you need one”? Sometimes, there isn’t one even when there is.

I was riding my motorcycle north towards the small town of Wiarton one day. I came up behind a Ford SUV, the driver of which was clearly impaired. He meandered between the center line of the road and the extreme limit of the shoulder of the road, occasionally swerving (for no apparent reason) into the lane of oncoming traffic, fortunately, not encountering anyone. Even if I had a cell phone, I couldn’t use it. I was loathe to try and pass him because he might decide to visit the passing lane while I was going by. I decided to follow him to the Wiarton OPP station just up the road a piece.

I pulled in, jumped off the bike and sprinted into the main door. There were two ladies sitting at their desks. When I finished explaining why I was there, one of them, looking kind of bored, said I’d have to “Call the comm center”. (Huh? “Call the comm center”? I’m inside the *@&* police station!)

Know what that entailed? Go outside the building; walk around to the side; pick up the receiver; wait. By the time someone picked up, identified where the call was coming from and got the details I passed on, I’d estimate that drunk in the SUV had managed to pass through sleepy old Wiarton and get himself gone a half dozen ways to Sunday. Hopefully, he didn’t crash into anybody (that day) but you never know.

Platitudes sometimes substitute for policing. When you encounter abject stupidity like this, you have to be more than a little demoralized about public protection. Wiarton has a shiny, big, fancy and new police station. Too bad they don’t do a whole lot of actual policing from there.

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