No good deed goes unpunished. Never has the saying been so true. At least for Dane Rusk. Dane was a victim of another police extortion scheme. This time taking advantage of people’s good charity. When Dane saw what he believed to be a homeless man on the side of the road, he couldn’t do anything but help. Little did he know that his charity was about to get him a citation by Canada’s finest, the Regina Police Service in Saskatchewan. Dane was a victim of a new program implemented by the Regina Police Service in order to catch a number of non-moving violation related offenses. Any number of “distracted driving”related activities including smoking with kids in the car or texting and driving could get you busted.
Dane drove off after giving the homeless man, three dollars in change. I’m sure you can imagine his surprise when he was informed by the officer that pulled him over, that the homeless man was actually an undercover cop. Regina police, of course defended their actions by stating that this citation was part of an ongoing “intersection project.” Their goal was to ensure traffic safety. It always comes down to “safety” when what they are actually doing is extorting money from hard working citizens who pay their salaries. Regina Police Inspector Evan Bray denied that the plainclothes officer was acting as a homeless man, instead rephrasing it “I wouldn’t say he was posing as a homeless person. He was dressed in plain clothes and he did have a sign.” The police agency’s ability to re-articulate their actions into something less abhorrent is admirable, however it does not negate the impact that their deceit has upon the citizens of Regina.
Traffic ticket scheme’s by police are nothing new. I believe that the last people who actually don’t recognize that tickets are a for profit racket by municipalities are the police themselves. Police have a way of justifying everything they do under some strange allegiance or sense of duty to the state. They will be the last to recognize the traffic ticket extortion scheme for what it is. Another example of confirmed ticketing for profit scheme came to light in 2015. Retired Calvert, Texas Judge David Viscarde came forward with information regarding citation quotas being enforced and judges being pressured to push traffic court cases through with expedience. “The pressure to collect revenues in Calvert — and probably other small towns in Texas — is excessive. And what happens is, you got judges like me who say they’ve got better things to do with my time” Viscarde stated.
Ticketing for profit is one thing, but dressing up like the homeless to catch minor violations is another. In 2015, it was reported that Marietta Police officers dressed up like construction workers in order to catch “distracted drivers.” The details of this operation were creepy to say the least. According to Officer Nick Serkedakis of the Marietta Police, “What we’ve done here is we’re able to put officers in the roads so we’re able to get close enough almost inside their cars so we can look down and see exactly what they’re doing on their phones.” If this isn’t an outright violation of privacy, I don’t know what is. Do police in this country really have so little real crime to worry about that they must turn to these ticket writing schemes to justify their own careers?
Needless to say, the next time you have it in your heart to check your phone at a light or donate your money to the homeless man on the street. Beware! It may be your local law enforcement agency spending your hard earned tax dollars trying to bust you.
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