Cambridge, The Harvard One, Might Have Unarmed Civilians Conduct Traffic Stops


When I first read this, I thought traffic stops meant a person walking into the road with a whistle and a stop sign on a popsicle stick to let the kiddies cross the street after school. That seemed reasonable. No need to have anyone special doing that. Well, maybe a background check to make sure they’re not pedos. But beyond that, a basic understanding of how to avoid car-child collisions is all you really need.

Nope. Not that at all. We’re talking full-on “PULL YOUR VEHICLE TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD” shit. License and registration. Hands on the steering wheel. A condescending “do you know why I pulled you over?” That’s a traffic stop. And the good city councilors of Cambridge, MA have suggested that normal, unarmed people be granted that duty.

I mean, sure. Go for it. I’m sure drivers being shot as a result of traffic stops would go to zero. You know what else would go to zero? Traffic stops. What sort of idiot is pulling over when part-time lifeguard Sherryl flags them down in her Subaru Impreza with the ski rack up top? How pathetic would you have to be to let an Uber driver-citizen traffic stopper, with a passenger in the back, pull you over? Just give them a wave and… keep driving. Something tells me it’s not going to add any stars to your GTA heat scale.

Where are we going to find these regular joes?

WDHD– 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.”

Traffic and parking makes sense. That’s pretty adjacent. At least they wear uniforms. But the department of public works? That’s garbagemen and the dudes who sand icy roads. Those guys aren’t messing around whatsoever. I take back what I said—if Jerry the garbageman flags me down from the back of his garbage truck, I’ll pull over. Sure. Something tells me that a quick handshake with a crisp $20 exchanged might get me off with a warning.

Health and human services? Is that the hotline you call when you’re feeling low? Gotta believe you can talk your way out of that ticket too. Just… share your feelings. Mention how distant your father was. I guarantee her dad never came to her softball games either. Trust me, you’re not getting a ticket, as long as you have some tissues handy.

This all feels like a proposal from Leslie Knope. I’d laugh, but Cambridge is too dear to my heart.