Interview : Jean Tremblay, PDQ 26
Why did you choose to be a Neighbourhood road safety officer?
As a citizen and "tax payer", I witness Highway Safety Code violations every day and I know how much my fellow citizens appreciate seeing a police officer enforcing regulations to make our streets safer.
I also enjoy that the people living in my district greet me and thank me for my work, like they do for the baker, milkman or the depanneur. It is the human side that I like and I also have the impression that I am contributing by responsibly applying the powers conferred to me.
What do you like the most about your daily work?
To work outside, "hitting the pavement", as they say.
And what do you find most difficult?
The cold temperatures in winter when we work on foot for a few hours.
What is your greatest challenge?
To apply the Code day in and day out, because there are days when you feel like you are all alone...
What achievement are you most proud of?
NPD 26 winning the 2007 Webber Seavey Award in Louisiana, United States. We won the award for the collective effort that my colleagues made in application of the Code leading to a reduction in the number of collisions on Côte-des-Neiges. It was Mr. LaPenna, our former Captain, who had submitted our candidature.
Can you tell us a story that would illustrate the characteristics of your work?
A few years ago, before being road safety officer, I worked alone and in my district there was a problematic raised pedestrian crossing. One Saturday evening in winter, I attempted to supervise it from ground level with batteries heating my socks because it was so cold! A vehicle from Intervention Ouest then passed me, and the police officers asked me what I had done to be punished like that... Believe it or not, it was my choice to be there!
And a story to understand an important aspect your work?
A few years ago, after having received a large fine for excess speed, a lady telephoned the Station... Except it was not to complain, but rather to congratulate me on my approach towards her!
What would you say to a young person who would like to do your job?
To treat the person who they stop in the same way he would like to be treated, because respect attracts respect. Never forget that we are not the Law, even if we represent it. And finally, not to take it personally when interventions go bad between the police officer and the intercepted suspect...
What is the principal quality necessary to complete your duties?
A good sense of observation.
Do you consider that your work contains elements of danger?
Of course. To begin with, there is the risk of being hurt by a vehicle, since we work on foot every day. We are still police officers, and we can intercept a vehicle for a simple violation of the Highway Code and discover that the driver is guilty of a serious offense connected to the Criminal Code. That doesn't include the physical possibilities of disputes with suspects...
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