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13.5.15

TRANSIT COPS * Canada: 'Big Brother' rutine at work

* Ontario - Keeping the peace in Ottawa's night,  with the  Transit Cops


(Photo by Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen - The mission control room where all buses are monitored from at the OC Transpo’s Industrial Ave. location)
-- A wall of monitors broadcasts live images from across the darkened city... Here inside OC Transpo’s sophisticated communications centre on Belfast Road, a pair of operators quietly work, keeping in constant touch with bus drivers out on the road... Off to one side, behind a wall of opaque glass panels, is the transit law-enforcement headquarters, the thrumming heart of OC Transpo’s security operation... There’s an undeniable element of Big Brother at work here... Three communications officers stay in regular contact with the special constables, the authority’s boots on the ground. The communications team also has its own large bank of monitors to watch what’s happening inside bus stations across the city... This is whom special constables out on the road call when they want names run through the Canadian Police Information Centre database if they have, for instance, detained a person for being drunk on a bus or causing a ruckus... Special constables — the formal name for transit cops — have many of the same powers as the police. They can arrest and detain people under the Criminal Code, enforce drug and alcohol laws, and bust panhandlers on all transit vehicles, stations and property. They don’t have guns or Tasers, but do carry batons, pepper spray and handcuffs... 
(Photo by Cole Burston / Ottawa Citizen - A typical night might see nine special constables, plus a sergeant, at work)
... The constables say some bus drivers have also been known to announce to passengers that special constables will be boarding the bus at an upcoming stop, only to see half the bus empty out the back door...
(Photo by Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen - The mission control room where all buses are monitored from at the OC Transpo’s Industrial Ave. location) -- Ottawa, ONT, CAN - The Ottawa Citizen, by Matthew Pearson - May 10, 2015

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