In my last blog, and especially in my most recent column (which is rolling off the presses as I type this), I was critical of the police and specifically the OPP for what appears to be some overzealous enforcement tactics towards professional truck drivers. I contended that the OPP officer who fined a driver for smoking in his rig and some other police officers who have wrongly come down on truck drivers were undermining attempts by the likes of RCMP Sgt. Rob Ruiters, who has worked tirelessly to promote increased cooperation between police and truckers.
I stand by my remarks, but an incident last night has left me wondering if I was perhaps too harsh towards the OPP?
Let me explain: Last night, my wife (seven months pregnant and a Nervous Nellie at the best of times) blew a tire on her way home from work. Stranded on the side of Hwy. 7 with traffic whizzing by at ungodly speeds (as it always does on that stretch of highway at that time of day), she sat frightened in her car as the realization dawned on her that she had forgotten her cell phone at home.
She flagged down a motorist and called me, I called CAA and then headed out to where she said she was located. By the time I arrived, some 20 minutes or so later, one of Ontario’s finest was just finishing attaching her spare. When I pulled over, Const. Cox wiped the dirt off his hands and said she was good to go.
Well, didn’t I feel like the world’s biggest jackass, having just hammered out a column that took the OPP to task and suggested they are unfairly antagonizing truck drivers? Again, in the cases I cited in my column, I still believe the officers in question were wrong in fining professional drivers for minor or non-existent offences.
However what I failed to do was acknowledge that for every one of them, there are hundreds or thousands of other officers in the OPP and other forces who deserve credit for the many things they do each day that go above and beyond what’s required of them – including Const. Cox, who stopped to help my wife, settled her down in the midst of an anxious situation and then changed her tire – even waving off a tow truck driver who at one point swooped in for the sale.
Those of us in the trucking industry are constantly reminding members of the non-trucking public that the actions of one aggressive or obscene truck driver are not indicative of the profession at large. I suppose it’s also worth considering that the overzealous and inappropriate conduct of a few cops does not speak to the overall professionalism and pride of the force in general. Thanks, Const. Cox, for unwittingly providing me with this important reminder by way of your selfless actions.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies