OTTAWA — It’s a ticket that police say they wouldn’t give anyone, let alone a fellow officer.
But not Ottawa-based Ontario Provincial Police Const. Josee Arbour, a longtime officer who doesn’t think twice about handing out even jaywalking tickets to other cops in the city.
In late September, just a week before the national police memorial on Parliament Hill, Arbour was in her cruiser across the street from the Ottawa Police Association club when she spotted three off-duty officers stepping out of the club.
Two of the off-duty cops were Ottawa police and the third was a visiting Halifax police officer.
One of the Ottawa cops thought they knew the on-duty OPP officer, so the trio walked across the street to say hello. They walked within the white-lined crosswalk, but against a red light.
It was 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 26, a Sunday night and the street was empty of cars except for the cruiser of the decorated Arbour.
The constable turned on the flashing lights of her cruiser and then started writing them tickets for jaywalking — even after they told her they were police officers, too. She didn’t give her fellow officers a break.
"Just because you’re a police officer who wears the uniform doesn’t mean you’re above the law," Arbour told the Ottawa Citizen recently. "I crossed the blue code and it’s turned into an international diplomatic incident," she said.
The jaywalking case has been the talk of the Ottawa Police Service and their provincial counterparts.
In fact, when the Citizen called the Ottawa OPP detachment and asked to speak to Arbour, the officer who answered said: "No, she wouldn’t be here, she’s out on the streets of Ottawa handing out tickets for jaywalking."
Arbour, who won a Canadian Bankers Association Award in 2006 for her work against fraudsters, now fears that she may end up "getting lynched in an alley."
It’s not the first time the Ottawa OPP officer has ticketed Ottawa police officers. Weeks before she handed out tickets for jaywalking, she stopped not one, but two Ottawa police officers on the cross-town highway. Both cops were on their way to headquarters to start their shifts.
Arbour said she was surprised the Citizen knew she had been nabbing fellow officers.
All of the jaywalking officers have paid their $35 fines under the Highway Traffic Act. One of the officers now keeps his jaywalking ticket on a wall by his desk as a souvenir. It is the subject of much chatter, and some laughter.
That officer, also a patrol cop like Arbour, says he’s never issued a jaywalking ticket to anyone, let alone another officer.
— Postmedia News