Many law abiding citizens believe they know the law. However, many would be surprised to find out a lot of what they think to be law is actually myth. When people hear the same rule repeated over and over, it can be hard to distinguish reality from false information. The longer this goes on, the more people believe the mythical law and come to accept it as fact. This is why so many fall victim to believing in laws that might not even exist.
As an aspiring police officer, it will be your job to uphold the law in the line of duty. While your training will help make sure that you are well-versed in which laws are fact and which are fiction, you might sometimes encounter citizens who might not have the same in-depth training.
Here are three common myths you might encounter throughout your career.
Myth #1: U-Turns Are Illegal and Can be Punished by Professionals with Police Foundations Training
The U-turn is a hot topic of debate amongst drivers. Many believe pulling such a maneuver violates the law. However, U-turns are completely legal unless there are signs stating otherwise. After police foundations training you won’t be ticketing drivers for pulling a U-turn as long as they are performed safely. This mean the intersection must not be within 30 metres of a railroad crossing, and oncoming drivers must be able to clearly see from 150 meters away.
Myth #2: A Signed Contract Is Always Enforceable Once You Become a Police Officer
Contract law is intricate and can be confusing, which is why there are many myths about what constitutes a binding contract. After you become a police officer you may notice that in some cases, a judge may choose not to honour a contract signed by both parties. If important conditions are not met, it can unravel the contract. For example, in contract law, parties must have the “capacity” to participate in a contract. This means they are of sound mind, age, and ability to understand what they are signing. If a judge believes one party’s capacity and judgement was hindered, the judge could refuse to uphold the contract. This also applies to contracts signed under duress, pressure, or as a result of threats.
Myth #3: Driving Over the Legal Limit is the Same as Impaired Driving
Many do not realize that being charged for having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit is not the same charge as driving impaired. In Canada, the maximum legal blood alcohol content is 80 milligrams in 100 millilitres of blood (0.08). This is oftentimes referred to as “over 80”. For some drivers, operating a vehicle with this much alcohol in their system won’t hinder their function, but for many it could render them completely useless at the wheel. This is why impaired driving is an additional and separate charge. If someone is over the legal limit but driving normally, they will be charged for driving over the legal limit, but not for impaired driving. On the other hand, someone can be charged with impaired driving because of erratic driving behaviour while being within the legal alcohol limit.
Driving while over the legal alcohol limit is different than driving impaired
Police officers and the public are in support of body cameras
Several programs are being rolled out across Canada and the United States to study how body cameras affect the work of police officers, and assess the pros and cons of wearing one of these cameras while on the job. Although body cameras are a large financial investment, many police officers believe they are well worth it.
If you’re interested in pursuing police training, read on to discover why you may want to wear a body camera once you graduate from your program.
Body Cameras Provide Solid Evidence to Be Used in Court Proceedings
During your training you will learn about the importance of evidence. As you may soon discover, having video footage strengthens a criminal case. During court proceedings it can be difficult for a jury to visualize what actually transpired in a situation. Having actual footage from the incident in question can help mitigate this issue.
Video footage can provide solid evidence for court proceedings
Video footage can also assist you once you become a police officer by helping you keep more accurate records of what occurred during your shifts. It may even help you record details you wouldn’t have otherwise remembered without seeing the video tape. This elevated method of recording evidence could help create a stronger case in court and convict wrong doers even faster.
Body Camera Footage Can Help Officers with a Police Diploma Review Crime Scene Evidence
When a police officer arrives at a crime scene, it can be hectic. Between interviews, analyzing the scene, and calming the public, there’s a lot to focus on. Having a body camera on at all times will capture everything a police officer sees, even if they don’t realize they are seeing it. This can be especially handy after a crime scene has been disturbed, as it will offer a permanent record of what it actually looked like. Officers with a police diploma can refer back to the footage to recall things that may have caught their attention previously and that could help solve a case.
Body cam footage can be used after the fact to review evidence
Body Cameras Prevent Officers with a Police Diploma from Receiving False Allegations
Even great police officers can sometimes face malicious accusations regarding how they handled a situation. It is not uncommon for criminals to try to pin a negative situation on a police officer. Fortunately, wearing a body camera ensures maximum transparency between police and the public when analyzing what happened. As the Government of Canada’s public safety assessment Police Officer Body-Worn Cameras: Assessing the Evidence states, “What is clear is that the process of considering any complaint was made much easier by using the evidence from [body-worn] cameras. This will have provided some reassurance to the officer involved.” By using body cameras throughout your career, you can help promote transparency and prevent false allegations.