Quebec enforcement officers see increase in aggression

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Around 2 p.m. on the afternoon of March 21, a Quebec highway traffic control officer was attacked at roadside, sparking worries increased aggression against enforcement officers is on the rise.

Kicked in the knee and thrown into the right lane of Highway 15 North, near Saint-Jérôme, she could have been struck to death if road users had not respected the safety corridor which protects the surrounding area from emergency vehicles, a group representing enforcement officers says.

AR-15 found in car
This AR-15 type assault rifle was seized during a traffic stop. (Photo: FCCRQ)

In an interview with Transport Routier, Jean-Claude Daignault, president of the Fraternity of Highway Control Constables of Quebec (FCCRQ), explained the confrontation began over a driver’s refusal to respect the “safety corridor.”

A colleague of the agent who was attacked had stopped a truck for a routine intervention. The controller positioned herself in front of the stopped vehicles in order to check compliance with the safety corridor.

“There is a vehicle that starts honking its horn and does not change lanes as required by law, and [its driver] gives the finger with their arms in the air to the traffic controller who intercepted the truck,” says Daignault, referring to the driver of a large van.

When the officer noticed that the offending vehicle had a commercial registration (“F” plate), she decided to intercept it since commercial vehicles fall under her jurisdiction.

The officer approached the driver of the commercial van.

“The person did not want to identify himself, did not want to hand over his driving licence. He didn’t want to know anything. At one point, he wanted to leave the scene even though the officer had told him that he was under arrest for refusing to identify himself. When he wanted to leave, she managed to grab him and that’s when it degenerated,” explains Daignault.

The suspect complained that traffic controllers did not have the authority to intercept him because he was not towing a trailer.

The Sureté du Québec (SQ) was called to the scene and took charge of the individual, who had been handcuffed by traffic controllers after the scuffle. Cayenne pepper was used to control him.

Controle Routier patrol car
(Photo: Controle Routier)

At the SQ, Sergeant Ève Brochu-Joubert specifies that the suspect is a 31-year-old man who lives in Ste-Sophie, in the St-Jérôme sector in the Basses-Laurentides. After his arrest, he was released on a promise to appear in court. “He could face charges of assault on a peace officer as well as breach of conditions,” said the officer.

Two knives were found in his vehicle. One on the dashboard near the steering wheel and the other between the seats. However, he did not use these weapons during the fight.

The traffic control officer, a woman in her 30s, was transported to St-Jérôme hospital to have a dislocated knee treated. She was discharged that evening but will be away from work for at least six weeks.

90% of truckers friendly

According to Daignault, truckers who interact with controllers generally show courtesy and cooperate with them.

“I have intercepted a lot of truckers and, honestly, the vast majority are decent, friendly people who are trying to earn a living,” says the 30-year enforcement veteran.

He estimates that out of the 100,000 interventions carried out at weigh stations or by patrol car each year, only around a third result in a report of an infraction, which attests to the compliance of the majority.

More cases of aggression

But the small percentage of criminals are showing more aggression than in the past.

“We have more and more. Two of my members were injured in the last month,” said the president of the FCCRQ, adding that his greatest fear is that one of his members could be killed in the exercise of their duties.

“Since the pandemic, we have seen an upsurge in belligerent behavior. During the pandemic we had some truck drivers who spit on their driving licences, who coughed on us on purpose to intimidate us by saying ‘I’m going to give you Covid-19’,” says Daignault.

He adds he has seized prohibited weapons several times in the course of his duties, including an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle during an operation in Beauce. A handgun was also concealed in the vehicle.

“The person had a gun within reach,” added the traffic controller.

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Eric Berard is a journalist and translator specialized in trucking and logistics. Multiple award winner over his 30-year career, he contributes to trade publications such as Today's Trucking, Truck News and Transport Routier, as he previously did for Montreal daily newspapers La Presse's and Le Devoir's financial pages. With Political Analysis as a university educational background, he’s comfortable with topics that cover a wide spectrum of our society . He can be reached at

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  • An AR 15 is not an assault rifle guys , nice try though very sensational complete with “scary” pic. Was the offender in this case driving a truck? Seems like this was not a truck but something else like a van or a pickup but you guys left it to appear as if it was a trucker who did this. Why can’t any single media source in this “country” be fair and honest when doing a report. Here’s to a speedy recovery for the officer.

  • Why are people so stressed out? I think it’s lots to do with. People are short of money and trying to make ends meet. It is very sad and scary.

  • It is unfortunate that these things happen and I agree that most drivers are courteous and cooperative however some of the enforcement officers are not returning the favor and are exercising their authority with little regard for the consequences or how their attitude precipitates hard feelings. Not most, but some