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Eric Lai's 2013 memories An eye-opening night with the police

The last surprise of the night: we didn't once stop for coffee or donuts.

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In November, York Regional Police invited me on a ride-along, in response to a reader’s question about why police don’t pull drivers over into side roads or parking lots, rather than block a main artery.

It was a night full of broken stereotypes, beginning with Traffic Unit supervisor Sgt. Ryan Hogan, whose career also includes 10 years in the drugs, vice, and hold-up squads.

The Move Over law, enacted in 2003, essentially narrows three lanes in your direction of travel into just one if police are stopped in the curb lane with lights flashing.

Asked if police could make stops off main roads, Hogan, to my surprise, agreed it’s a legitimate question and says they try, but can’t control where drivers stop.

I see this for myself, as one driver blocks an intersection during a traffic stop, and another takes an eternity to pull over despite lights and siren.

During our overnight shift, Hogan issued plenty of warnings and only targeted speeders going 30 km/h or more over the highway limit.

I also can’t fault his radar usage, from set-up, scanning for interference, and not stopping side-by-side speeders (radar can’t differentiate source, but Laser can).

There’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop, which I see first-hand as one Move Over violator powers into a corner and disappears, likely into underground parking.

Who knows what was going on there?

Hogan recalls one time he realized a driver was armed during a traffic stop. Rather than acting alone, he discreetly called for back-up to make the arrest safely. A handgun and shotgun were seized.

The last surprise of the night: we didn’t once stop for coffee or donuts.

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