Highway crackdown
Traffic Mountie serious about putting the brakes on speeding

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (Nov 07/97) - RCMP Const. Shawn Pollard cruises along Highway 3 in his brand-new diesel Chevy four-by-four, wired to the gills with the best radar equipment available.

The radar unit picks up speeding vehicles from as far as five kilometres away in any direction.

In the last couple of weeks, Pollard has been putting this $6,000 piece of electronics to good use by cracking down on speeding from Rae.

"It's zero tolerance," he said.

"If you're speeding, you're going to get 'er," said Pollard with both hands firmly planted on the wheel.

Last weekend Pollard stationed himself in one of many choice hiding spots on the road to Rae, waiting patiently for speeders.

In two days he issued 45 tickets. But not all were for speeding.

After pulling drivers over he often ends up issuing seat-belt, insurance, registration and open liquor violation tickets.

He said he gives out mo more than two tickets per vehicle but in many cases he could give out more.

The speed limit from Rae is 90 km/h, but many drivers are clocked doing between 120 to 140 km/h.

"It's way too high. That's the reason why people get killed," Pollard said, adding that on the weekend it was so slippery you couldn't even stand up on the road.

And it's not truckers doing the speeding either, he said, despite what many people think.

Pollard said if some of the truckers were going more than 100 km/h, they wouldn't make it around some of the twists and turns without rolling over.

The busiest time for Pollard is on bingo nights, when people load up their families and make their way into the city for the evening.

"Those flippin' bingo's," he said.

Pollard said he's fair when it comes to issuing tickets and admits he tries to "sell" the ticket, rather than issuing one without question.

As a former truck driver who joined the RCMP at age 30, he said he tries to give drivers a break.

Pollard has been patrolling the highways around Yellowknife for the last several months after RCMP resumed the beat following a four-year hiatus. It had been cut to keep more officers in the city.

Until the Lupin mine ice road closed, he was busy stopping trucks, checking to see if their logbooks were up to date, among other things.

Now he's patrolling the highway to Rae and Fort Providence, as well as the Ingraham Trail.