Montreal

Montreal police chief questions whether officers should be directing traffic

Montreal's police chief, Philippe Pichet, says having police officers directing traffic at roadwork sites isn't always necessary — and is often a waste of money and resources.

City spent $8 million in 2015 on police officers at construction sites

Montreal police officers are regularly seen directing traffic around the city. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Montreal's police chief is questioning whether his officers should be responsible for directing traffic around roadwork in the city.

Philippe Pichet says posting officers at construction sites isn't always necessary — and is often a waste of money and resources.

"There are sites where it takes the police. There are other sites where we have to ask ourselves [if it's necessary]," Pichet said Wednesday. 

In other parts of Quebec, police are not the only ones directing traffic. 

Montreal police Chief Philippe Pichet says officers assigned to directing traffic could be shifted to other work. (CBC)
Quebec's Ministry of Transport uses special employees trained in traffic control.

Pichet also said "smart" traffic lights — which recognize when vehicles are approaching and can change to a green light more quickly —  could play a role.  

Cost is a major factor. The city has already spent $8 million this year on police officers assigned to direct traffic at construction sites. 

Pichet said taking police officers off traffic duty would allow them to be reassigned to other tasks.

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