By-Law Enforcement



By-law enforcement agencies more commonly require disengagement tactics and techniques than subject control training. Yet this field is much broader than the public is generally aware and different types of by-law agencies do require different training. Some, particularly in smaller centers, may wear multiple hats.

A police dispatched Noise Control Officer is usually entering buildings, even homes in the course of their duties, but has the advantage of the emergency button on their police radio to summon "immediate" aid.

Usually the agency, municipality or otherwise, counts on this. Let's not forget that most altercations are both spontaneous and short-lived. Most last less than thirty seconds. Now, whether they're spontaneous and the officer didn't get to the button, or if the officer did get to the button, realistically the incident is long over before any response can reach them.

Most other enforcement agency personnel respond to complaints or perform inspections on the 'subject's' premises be it home or business. This puts the officer at a distinct disadvantage since you're always on the other person's home turf. In other words, they know where everything is, you don't.

Parking enforcement officers by the nature of their work are generally on the street or in open parking lots. The problem they face is that many people who attack them try to do so before the ticket is finished, hoping to retain anonymity and therefore avoid any prosecution.

The other problem is the often over zealous enforcement of parking regulations. It's amazing how a $20 ticket can take a person over the edge.

Too many municipalities push their parking enforcement personnel by using a quota system. Other times the individual themselves, being of a competitive nature, simply wants to get more tickets than their peers. This is always dangerous.

Is one more $20 ticket really worth getting hurt over or hurting someone else over? Logically we all know the answer. Why isn't the answer our reality?

The larger the center, the greater the likelihood there's a great deal of pressure for parking and therefore, parking enforcement tends to become more and more assertive. The problem arises when assertive becomes aggressive.

In the by-law enforcement field generally, training or re-training in public relations and crisis avoidance should be emphasized. At a minimum, effective disengagement tactics should also be taught.

I would be very careful of teaching subject control/arrest procedures to most by-law agencies simply because it is not and should not become part of their mandate. There are a few agencies, parks and trails enforcement being one possible example, where such training would be appropriate.


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