EDITORIAL: Honouring a ‘fallen’ officer | Squamish Chief

EDITORIAL: Honouring a ‘fallen’ officer

He puts his life on the line for us every day.

He’s always in uniform, with his bright neon yellow-green safety jacket, police hat, striped pants.

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You can often see him on the highway median or a bustling municipal street on a busy day, standing still — oh, so still — with his speed gun at the ready.

He’s the bane of drivers hoping to turn their trip into an extended cut of The Fast and The Furious.

In Pemberton, he was helping fellow officers who needed a hand with speed control.

But the call of duty is not an easy one. And it is not always safe.

Earlier in July, he was injured. Days after his injury, he disappeared.

He would later be found without a head in Squamish at a bus stop on Mamquam Road.

We are talking about Const. Scarecrow, a cutout of an RCMP officer who implacably holds his speed radar up in an effort to remind all who travel our roads to do so at a safe speed.

And while some may not appreciate his efforts, they are well warranted.

A District of Squamish staff report highlights the dangers of faster driving.

“Even conservative estimates show the dangers associated with higher speeds: the risk of pedestrian fatality at 50 kilometres per hour vehicle speed is over twice that of 40 km per hour, and over five times that of 30 km per hour,” reads the report.

A number of municipalities have recognized dangers associated with the default city speed limit in the province, which is 50 km per hour.

“This issue has been brought forward in endorsed resolutions at UBCM in 1999, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015, and 2019. In response to the UBCM resolutions, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) has committed ‘to review legislative, regulatory and policy frameworks — including the [Motor Vehicle Act] — to acknowledge all road users and emerging active transportation modes,’” the report says.

Local governments have been responding to their residents’ request for decreased speed.

For example, in 2015, Rossland cut residential limits down to 30 km per hour.

Here in Squamish, speed limits have been a concern in residential zones. One need only look at the deluge of complaints about speeding cars in the Garibaldi Highlands — especially around The Boulevard area — among other places.

The municipality is putting in traffic calming measures in some areas, and, more broadly, is expected to opt for a three-year pilot project that would lower speed limits in residential zones to 40 km per hour starting next year.

Back to Const. Scarecrow — it’s not the first time he’s had a bad turn of luck.

He’s been vandalized. He’s gone missing. He’s had um, not-so-decent things drawn on him.

But to whoever would take another shot at the brave officer in the future — it’s true his stilted manners may make him an easy target, but safer roads benefit us all.

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