Was that a taxi or a police car?
That’s what motorists in parts of Halton Region have been asking for the past year.
Halton police say that they’ve been putting taxi-style lights atop some unmarked cars to nab speeders and aggressive drivers in Milton and Halton Hills.
But Insp. Bill Ford said the program, although successful, was scuttled three weeks ago because some folks thought it gave police an unfair advantage.“The complaint was that we were using a cab light, but my response is that we were using a police light that looks like a cab light,” Ford said. “It didn’t say Halton Taxi on it. It said POLICE 878-5511.” — Inspector Bill Ford
“Our goal here in Halton Region is to reduce the number of deaths caused by aggressive driving and motor vehicle accidents,” Ford said. “It was very effective.
“But we’re not about catching people committing traffic offences at any cost.”
Ford said there was only one complaint from the public about the project, which was suggested by traffic officers who thought the lights would help police vehicles blend in more than unmarked cars alone.
“The complaint was that we were using a cab light, but my response is that we were using a police light that looks like a cab light,” Ford said. “It didn’t say Halton Taxi on it. It said POLICE 878-5511.”
Part of the strategy was that motorists might start slowing down any time they saw a taxi, thinking it might just be a police car, Ford said.
Ford said Halton Region police Chief Gary Crowell initially supported the project, but learned some members of the public didn’t.
“The feeling the chief had from the community was that it wasn’t perceived as being fair,” Ford said.
“It was perceived as being a dirty trick, I suppose.”