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2013-12-29 at 15:12

Issuing tickets

By Matt Vis,
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The city’s police chief is in favour of issuing tickets rather than charges for less severe offences.

Citing backlog in the court system, Thunder Bay Police Service chief J.P. Levesque used the example of possession of small amounts of marijuana as an example of an offence that would be better off handled by ticketing.

“I think decriminalizing small amounts of say, marijuana, is a step in making things more efficient in the court process,” Levesque said. “You charge somebody under the (Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) for possession of marijuana and the officer is typed up in court and the Crown attorney’s office is tied up.”

The idea is supported by the Canadian Association of the Chiefs of Police and is being considered by the federal government as a measure to reduce costs of policing.

The current system racks up overtime costs for officers very quickly, and most of the time unnecessarily.

“I think it’s somewhere in the neighbourhood of 80 per cent of our officers show up to court and never end up testifying,” Levesque said.

“An appearance in court is an automatic six hours of pay for our officers and that’s a huge part of our overtime budget. Any efficiencies we can find I support.”

Levesque stressed that it would only be possession for very small amounts that he is a proponent of issuing tickets.

More severe offences such as trafficking need to continue to be enforced by charges, he said.

Levesque added that he is in favour of minor summary offences, such as cause of disturbance, being examined to determine the impacts of issuing tickets for those as well.

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nvjgu says:
Good luck getting the money
12/29/2013 4:00:54 PM
dynamiter says:
Totally concur - even if it is a minor - make them pay ( or their parents pay). Add on to the list consumption of alcohol as a minor. Minor assaults - ie the bar room brawls types. But make the fines substantial ie $1000 and $2000 and more if you do it several times.
12/29/2013 4:01:52 PM
mystified says:
Great idea. If the fines aren't paid suspend the persons driving license. If they get caught driving without a license then they get to go to court and can spend a little time in the DJ.
12/29/2013 4:21:53 PM
hobbesian_scholar says:
A large number of those charged with minor offences live below the poverty line and will be unable to pay a fine. Very few even drive. Furthermore, many have done time at the DJ. An issue with fines is it means that those 'with' can buy their way out of trouble, whereas the 'withouts' will, for all intents and purposes, receive a more severe penalty. I anticipate responses along the line of don't to the crime if you can't do the time. Not a very helpful position. Rather too much of a simplification of the social, economic, addictions and mental health roots of many transgressions of the law. Their ought to be consequences but fines aren't suitable for so very many who will be charged. Perhaps community service as an alternative, as it often an option for those on social assistance who end up in a court diversion program.
12/29/2013 6:20:26 PM
dynamiter says:
That is the exact type of overly simplistic over reach that causes us problems in our society. If you cant do the time dont do the crime.
12/29/2013 8:56:35 PM
Thor Odinson says:
You reply with jingoism to his well explained and well-thought out post... And you accuse HIM of being overly simplistic? Do you yokels even read what you type?
12/30/2013 11:09:14 AM
Twocents says:
So, they can afford the drug but not the fine? They chose to spend their 'below poverty line' funds on drugs? I don't care what your pay band is, if you choose to spend $ on drugs, get caught, and fined - you pay!
12/29/2013 11:49:30 PM
North18 says:
Dynamiter, there already is a fine for consumption of alcohol by a minor. And Mystified, the system already works as you propose. If you get any ticket now and don't pay the fine, the MTO can suspend your license until the fines are paid. I'm sure any new legislation would work the same.
12/29/2013 5:11:24 PM
jpm1953 says:
How about getting current with most progressive thinking and issuing no fines at all for possession?
12/29/2013 5:34:10 PM
livewire says:
The cost's concurred should be transferred to the individual, which should also include the court costs etc. The money should be no problem to collect from. If you do the crime then you pay!
12/29/2013 5:38:32 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Find someone else to be your ATM Machine, Chief.
12/29/2013 6:18:05 PM
advocate says:
if you don't want to be fined, do not break these obvious laws.
12/29/2013 8:54:03 PM
unknowncronik says:
If you get an impared,
besides saying bye-bye to your licence,
you should ALSO be BANNED from ALCOHOL TOO!!
12/29/2013 8:02:26 PM
jonthunder says:
Just legalize marijuana with the same general rules as alcohol re: purchase, use, consumption, etc. Any other approach is legal, moral and economic insanity.
12/30/2013 9:27:11 AM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Cops will never understand as long as their paycheques depend on them not understanding.
12/30/2013 11:48:57 AM
tiredofit says:
Badger, this is where you are incorrect. Ask most officers and they'll all tell you basically the same thing: Legalize it! They waste more time on this. Take a portion of the taxes generated, apply them to the force thus allowing them to concentrate on more pressing issues. Once you legalize it, you also tend to put a small percentage of the criminal element out of business, yes, some may move to other drugs, that's a given, however, it again frees up a lot of resources. No, I don't use weed, haven't since the 70's.
12/30/2013 12:11:13 PM
Dan Dan says:
Issuing tickets instead of charges is not any kind of step back in the war on drugs, it is simply a different strategy. The ultimate goal remains the eradication of illegal drug use, as it still is in most places with relaxed drug laws - i.e. Netherlands.

Nobody is talking about legalizing anything.
12/30/2013 10:41:57 PM
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