Cambridge, MA is Considering Having Unarmed Civilians Handle Traffic Stops. This Should Go Well.

Source - The City of Cambridge is considering having unarmed civilians conduct traffic stops as opposed to police.

Two city councilors submitted an order Monday, calling for the city manager 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.”

This comes in light of nationwide demands for racial justice following the death of George Floyd while he was in Minneapolis police custody.

The city councilors say that routine traffic stops impact drivers of color more than white drivers and that having trained city employees conduct them would reduce the possibility of violence. 

Police officers would still be responsible for apprehending known criminals and dangerous or erratic drivers that the city councilors say “clearly goes beyond routine traffic enforcement.” ...

The city councilors have called on the city manager to report back to the council on this matter as soon as possible. 

You've got to hand it to the City of Cambridge. Of all the proposals to prevent violence against people of color from law enforcement in all the jurisdictions in all the world, nobody can outdo them when it comes to horrifically terrible ideas. 

Where does one even begin to unpack this? It's the stuff of such sheer fantasy that it's hard to believe two adults even had a conversation about it, much less put it in writing and signed their names to it. This sound like an idea your three year old daughter would come up with during a tea party with her stuffed animals. Build a magical city where there is no crime and when people don't drive safely you can have them stopped by kids and moms and au pairs who can remind them to slow down. And instead of a ticket, they get a thank you card with a picture of My Little Pony on it. Problem solved. 

I haven't driven in Cambridge much since the mid-90s when I got married and moved into the Irish Rose's place in North Cambridge. And when I left I took pictures, because I didn't plan to ever come back. But the short time I spent there was enough to know you do NOT want those people enforcing anything. Nagging, bitchy, hypercritical, judgmental superiors who find fault in everything you do and where minding your own fucking business is simply not part of the culture. Believe me, you do not want to give police powers to the old bag who lived below us who watched TV on her couch 16 hours a day and screamed bloody murder if I had my stereo too loud. Or the one who lived next door who'd stare at me for an hour while I dug my car out of the snow to make sure none it fell on her pristine sidewalk. If you want to empower the citizens of Cambridge to make traffic stops, first try being seen taking plastic grocery bags out of your trunk and watch the daggers fly out of their eyes. Those raving lunatics will pull you over and ticket you for having too big a carbon footprint.

So if I've got this right, Cambridge traffic enforcement will be handled by the Parking Department, DPW employees and social workers? Is that it? Good call. Because meter maids are legendary for their reasonableness, public works guys are famous for their work ethic, and HHS has done such a bang up job taking care of the elderly and kids in foster care. Let's give them more to do. 

And what happens if the person being stopped is a dangerous felon with outstanding warrants who's armed and will kill rather than go back to jail - you know, the way shit goes down every day in every state in the union? Well then, they can call the regular police. Got it. So that Traffic Enforcement officer who's been writing parking tickets for 10 years and her partner who took all of 2019 to fix the potholes on a 100-yard stretch of Rindge Ave will ask Killy McFugitive to please turn off his engine and wait patiently until the real cops come to get him. Got it. Sounds like a plan. 

If this does pass - and this is the People's Republic, so don't dismiss the possibility altogether - the one benefit it is I'll go back to the city more often for sure. Any place I can speed, run red lights, go the wrong way up one way streets and generally drive the way I want because the law is being enforced by people actually lazier than me armed with nothing but a stern look is my paradise. I'll go full "Simpsons: Road Rage" on their useless, average citizen asses. Until then, I'm going continue to give that insane asylum a good leaving alone.