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An interesting encounter at the Starbucks parking lot

Published October 22, 2012

There I was, enjoying my grande latte on the outdoor patio at a Starbucks in Leaside, when up pulled the least inconspicuous “unmarked police vehicle” ever.

It was a massive Suburban (is there any other kind?), black as coal, big black tires, plain steel wheels, tiny little silver-painted hubcaps, and those two massive nerf bars sticking out of the grille.

Nope; the perps would never see THAT coming.

It looked like something out of an American police-procedural TV show.

Or the Canadian-made Flashpoint. Actually, that’s where this picture came from – I didn’t figure the guys climbing out of the vehicle I saw would be crazy about me taking a shot of them and their truck…

I joked with them about how “un-stealthy” their ride was.

“At least we have ‘POLICE’ on our uniforms!” one of them replied.

Uniforms – yes, those black and gray camo suits the Emergency Task Force wears.

These were serious cops.

Then another black ‘Burb pulled up, two more ETF guys got out, then a third ‘Burb, this time a white one with Metro Toronto Police markings on it.

“Geez,” I asked them, “did I stumble onto a high-risk take-down? Somebody smuggling Unfair-Trade beans in here?”

“No,” replied one of the officers, adding somewhat sheepishly, “we’re just here having breakfast.”

Then one of them said, “Hey, I know you! You’re the guy on TV!”

(If I get recognized “on the street” at all, it’s usually from being on TSN’s Motoring TV. Don’t know what that says about my photo in the Wheels section…).

“Yeah, STAY OUT OF THE LEFT LANE!” I yelled.

(I am not a curmudgeon; I just play one on television. We figure Don Cherry stole that shtick from me…).

Another ETF guy said he agreed with me on that.

“So why don’t you pull them over?” I asked. “Cops tell me the Justices of the Peace won’t convict if they write the tickets, but the JPs tell me they CAN’T convict if the cops won’t lay the charges! Chicken and egg; we got to get everybody in the same room at the same time.”

My new-found friend said he once did pull a woman over on the 401. She was in the right lane, but was going just 60 km/h, in broad daylight, no weather issues.

I can’t imagine what these guys must see every day.

Well, I sort of can, because I see it too.

But that’s just the traffic detail.

What THESE guys must see in the performance of their SWAT duties…

By now, the ETF teammates were back in their trucks.

“You do know there’s a Toronto law against idling for so long?” I quipped. Pretty cheeky telling that to guys with guns – with BIG guns.

“Yes, but we have an exemption because we have to maintain power to all the computers we have on board.”

“Fair enough,” I said, as they started to pull away.

“And don’t forget to put your seat belts on!”

“Doing that now!” the driver said with a big grin.

Terrific examples of “Toronto’s Finest.”

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