Cambridge Considering Having Unarmed Civilians Conduct Traffic Stops
The City of Cambridge considering having unarmed civilians conduct traffic stops rather than the police.
Two city counselors are pressuring the manager of the city to look into "transferring primary traffic enforcement responsibilities from the Cambridge Police Department to unarmed, trained enforcement personnel in the Traffic & Parking Department, Department of Public Works, Health & Human Services, or another suitable department.”
The counselors said that routine traffic stops impact drivers of color more than white drivers, so having trained city employees handle the stops will reduce the possibility of violence.
Police would still be used in any instance that “clearly goes beyond routine traffic enforcement," like apprehending known criminals or dangerous or erratic drivers.
A 28-year-veteran of the Parking Enforcement Department named Jay Shaugnessy, said he likes the idea of writing tickets for empty cars.
“That would be kind of crazy. Going up to some of these cars, they got the black windows, you don’t know what you’re going up against. It’s a little scary.”
Police commissioner Branville Bard, Jr. isn't happy. He released a statement which said "In my opinion, the order runs afoul of Massachusetts’ General Law and shows a lack of forethought.”
The Chief of Police, Brian Kyes, said that this will put the lives of any city employee tasked with traffic enforcement in great danger.
"There is never anything routine in stopping a car for a traffic violation. Hundreds of Police Officers across the country have been killed over the years during traffic stops. This proposal would absolutely put individuals in harm’s way and is incredibly dangerous.
Mayor Sumbal Siddiqui, said "When a policy comes our way and my way, I’m never like this is bogus. You have to research and think about it, the pros and the cons and weigh that. But above all, is it legal. I’m an attorney, that’s what I will ask.”
The proposal will bring on a lot of big changes if it goes through. Is it the right thing to do?
Read more at WHDH