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Kingston Police respond to photos of snow-covered cruiser

Photo via Facebook.

After photos of a cruiser covered in snow were widely circulated on social media, Kingston Police have responded to the public outcry.

The photos were posted on Facebook on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, and show a Kingston Police vehicle with snow on the roof, side windows, bumper, and part of the rear window. Some of the vehicle’s lights and licences plate appear to be obscured by the snow in the photos, which appear to have been taken at the intersection of Princess Street and Portsmouth Avenue. According to the original poster, the photos were taken the same day they were posted.

According to Const. Ash Gutheinz, media relations officer for Kingston Police, the cruiser in question is not breaking any laws.

“The exact circumstances involving this particular cruiser are unknown, however this does not constitute an offence under the Highway Traffic Act,” Gutheinz said in an email to Kingstonist.

“The Highway Traffic Act indicates that a motor vehicle that is equipped with a mirror or mirrors securely attached to the motor vehicle and placed in such a position and maintained in such a condition as to afford the driver, otherwise than through the rear window, a clearly-reflected view of the roadway in the rear or of any vehicle approaching from the rear is allowable.”

While that may be true, Section 13.2 of the Highway Traffic Act states “every number plate shall be kept free from dirt and obstruction and shall be affixed so that the entire number plate, including the numbers, is plainly visible at all times.”

Photo via Facebook.

The Highway Traffic Act applies to all public roadways in the province. The province doesn’t specifically ban driving with snow on a vehicle, but, should snow or ice on a vehicle fall off and become a factor in a collision, the driver of the vehicle with the snow or ice accumulated could be found to be at fault.

The section of the Highway Traffic Act Gutheinz referred to is Section 74, which refers to drivers needing to be able to see clearly out of the front, front side, and rear windows, with an exception for rear windows if the driver can see with mirrors.

As Kingstonist reported earlier this year, the Ontario Provincial Police actively patrol to ensure drivers are clearing snow from their cars during the winter. According to Inspector Mike Francis, it is up to police to decide what being able to see “clearly” out of a window means.

“It doesn’t mean scraping a small space in your windshield,” Francis said in January of 2019.

Gutheinz said Kingston Police do encourage motorists to clear snow and ice from their vehicles.

“Kingston Police would recommend that it is always best practice for drivers to clear all of the windows of their vehicles so as to avoid any view obstructions whatsoever and therefore decrease the potential of any roadway safety concerns,” he said.

Editorial note: An earlier version of this article stated that Bill 183 amended the Highway Traffic Act in 2014 to include a section regarding the accumulation of ice and snow on vehicles. This was an error. Bill 183 died in 2014 when the legislature was dissolved for a regularly scheduled provincial election.

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96 thoughts on “Kingston Police respond to photos of snow-covered cruiser

    • December 6, 2019 at 1:54 am
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      They break the law more so then us citizens.why? Because they all think they are above the law.come on now attorney general.do your job

    • January 26, 2020 at 10:45 am
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      Then why are they issuing tickets to people when their vehicles look just like this one?

      • January 26, 2020 at 8:27 pm
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        This is not fare or cool …it’s so true if that was the other way around ..we have a ticket in a heart beat but there better then everyone …if things don’t change soon it’s not going to get better it’s going to get worse …I watch them everyday never come to a full stop at the stop sign …but if it’s us we get ticket….police or starting to make me sick can’t trust them any more …sorry but its time to wake up

      • January 28, 2020 at 6:37 pm
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        In Victoria, they were handing them out left, right and centre after that last snowfall.

  • December 5, 2019 at 1:33 pm
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    Yep but if it was me and my vehicle I would have been ticket I’m sure bahaha

    • December 5, 2019 at 8:22 pm
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      how many tickets have you got in the past for snow on your window or license plate Bob? I’m gonna bet the house on 0, and not because you clear it every time you go out, but because no one gets those tickets, unless you’re doing something else and being a jerk to the police in the process.

        • January 31, 2020 at 5:23 pm
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          I think we have much more serious issues to worry about than policing the police. The idiot in Ottawa is a good place to start if you want to hold people accountable. Just my opinion.

      • December 9, 2019 at 1:05 pm
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        My friends son once got a ticket because the way re and plug for trailer lights was supposedly obscuring the rear licience plate.

      • January 29, 2020 at 9:11 pm
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        I got one in Oshawa about ,35 years ago when I first started driving I didn’t realize it was against the law not to clean your windows all off which was kind of amateur on my part but I got a ticket for it

      • February 3, 2020 at 9:16 am
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        I got a ticket 4 years ago due to the license plate being blocked by snow cop may have been bored but i can assure you that people due get them lol

  • December 5, 2019 at 1:47 pm
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    I’m saving this pic and article, and if I am pulled over and ticketed with obstructed views because of the snow, I am going to court and fighting the ticket with this article in hand.

    • December 6, 2019 at 11:26 am
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      maybe just clear the snow off your car and save yourself and everyone the trouble…

    • December 19, 2019 at 5:30 pm
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      Good idea. Also remind them you are serving the public with other safety concerns and you may have been called to a life saving event just before the ticket your about to be given and didnt have time because you were called to duty. Your the most important person In the world…. keep that up

    • January 28, 2020 at 11:35 am
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      Indeed you should. Depending on how you make your case, you might beat it, or not.

      But never, ever miss a chance to point out government misuse of authority. You can count on cops to cover for themselves, just as they’re counting on you to never call out their double standards.

  • December 5, 2019 at 2:04 pm
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    From OTA: “Every number plate shall be kept free from dirt and obstruction and shall be affixed so that the entire number plate, including the numbers, is plainly visible at all times…” So there’s that. (There are also clauses relating to photo radar, red light cams, etc. on the subject of plate obstruction.) Otoh if they were responding to an emergency, they may not have had time to clear the vehicle of snow. Otoh (I may be running out of hands?) I don’t see any flashing lights!

    • December 5, 2019 at 6:09 pm
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      Great reply, had a good laugh at this. Hours the mail on the head!

    • December 5, 2019 at 8:02 pm
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      Would be hard to see the flashing lights with the snow covering them.

    • December 6, 2019 at 9:03 am
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      There are a number if situations where calls are responded to without lights and sirens as these may escalate the incident.
      Whether it’s legal or not it’s certainly bad PR.
      Wondering if the police still send their vehicles out for maintenance?

  • December 5, 2019 at 2:09 pm
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    Can not believe the officer comments….SAFETY FIRST…should be every policeman moto.

  • December 5, 2019 at 2:17 pm
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    it is possible that the vehicle got that way during the shift, I’m not willing to judge what went on with only a photo

    • December 5, 2019 at 2:45 pm
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      Doesnt matter if it hapoened during a shift, it takes less than 5 mins to clears the snow off!!!

    • December 5, 2019 at 3:02 pm
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      So my vehicle gets that way “during a shift” I’ll still get a ticket. Bottom line is the officer driving was in the wrong and should have properly cleared the vehicle of snow.

    • December 5, 2019 at 7:15 pm
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      Hahaha. Ya I parked his car for 8 hours of his shift then drove it. Doesnt matter what the reason is the moral of the story is if it were a citizen and not a cop they would have received a ticket. It’s that simple.

      • December 6, 2019 at 10:51 am
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        The only spot i clear are my mirrors. Dont even own a snow brush! If my snow is bothering you back off your to close.

  • December 5, 2019 at 2:42 pm
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    Too lazy to do it and to embarrassed to admit it. You’re in the wrong, Kingston P.D., just own it.

  • December 5, 2019 at 3:47 pm
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    I support our police forces in our country and the city cops in particular, however I do somewhat hold them to a higher standard. Unfortunately I have seen far too many Kingston Police not following the rules of the road and it does disturb me, I would think they should be setting the standard. Would it have been so hard to admit that this was in poor judgement and that the force will endeavor to set that high standard of driving safety.

  • December 5, 2019 at 3:55 pm
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    Funny how it is up to the police to say how much snow on a car is too much. Even though the law is straightforward. Clearly this officer will not be ticketed even though this is clearly breaking the law. Excuses will be made when it is a police officer, but the rest of us beware.
    I will be saving this post for the occasion where I get pulled over for too much snow.

    • January 27, 2020 at 4:58 pm
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      Cops are the biggest hang in the world can never beat them they got the numbers

  • December 5, 2019 at 4:13 pm
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    There is no such section 181.1 of the Highway Traffic Act. FAKE NEWS!

    • December 5, 2019 at 4:51 pm
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      Hi KC. My error. The article has been updated to reflect that.
      -Tori

  • December 5, 2019 at 4:18 pm
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    I posted a photo on twitter of KPD parked in a bicycle lane. No lights, no siren. They never responded. If that was any one else but police, they would at least receive a ticket if not had their vehicle towed.

  • December 5, 2019 at 4:20 pm
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    Go figure, open to interpretation I guess. This exact incident will be used as evidence if I’m ever a victim of police and their double standards. Why can’t you just admit your cop was too lazy to clean off the vehicle?

  • December 5, 2019 at 4:29 pm
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    Thank you kingston police for setting an example. I for one will no longer clean all snow from vehicle. Dash cam will provide enough proof I can see clearly. Good job.
    Also I highly recommend subpoenaing Const. Ash Gutheinz and fighting everyone of these charges that get handed out this year.
    Thank you for clearly demonstrating what is a cleared vehicle and what is not.

  • December 5, 2019 at 4:58 pm
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    if he activated his roof lights how the flying hell are you going to see them due to being covered in SNOW that becomes a public saftie issue i think if thats was anyone in the PUBLIC here is your fine see you in court have a great day then we get our buts handed to us in court have to pay the fine lose points and so on but there above the law remember that BS

  • December 5, 2019 at 6:10 pm
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    Great reply, had a good laugh at this. Hits the nail on the head!

  • December 5, 2019 at 6:42 pm
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    Well I for one really detests cleaning my vehicle before driving anywhere. That being said, I know that it’s the law, and I abide. Those with control, they make the rules as they seem fit (the subjectiveness stated above). It’s not just about this case in particular, but new norm for society in general.

  • December 5, 2019 at 7:50 pm
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    They like any commercial drivers are required to do a full circle check – BEFORE setting out – a police vehicle has to be booked out for each shift it is the responsibility of the officer to clear the snow off the entire car – I drive commercial truck I do not have rear windows hence I use my mirrors.

    This vehicle IS fitted with side windows and therefore the exception does not apply KPD should have said yes we screwed up and put the officer on duty at the intersection with a snowbrush and clear other people’s snow ie own it as a learning excercise- with good humour that they too make mistakes not try and evade the very law they impose on all of us.

  • December 5, 2019 at 7:55 pm
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    The citation would be for insecure load. As it can blow off into another vehicle! Its the same thing for tractor trailers that have mounds of snow blowing off them on the highway! But again constables are above the law

  • December 5, 2019 at 8:17 pm
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    We clean the snow off our vehicles for the safety of others not just ourselves. What would of happened if the snow went flying off this cruiser and landed on someone’s windshield. Causing them to crash. Moral of the story don’t be so fmF$&@ing lazy and clean of your dame car. ?????

  • December 5, 2019 at 8:27 pm
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    Lol you act like it personally affects the Kingston Police if you get in an accident. Bottom line, have fun not cleaning your car, getting into an accident and explaining this to your insurance, I’m sure they’ll care you have this photo and take it into consideration, because insurance companies are super reasonable when it comes to this stuff……smh

  • December 5, 2019 at 8:41 pm
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    Excess snow on the vehicle, mirrors, lights…etc is definitely not setting a good example. The license plate is covered yes, but a plate can be covered in a matter of minutes, especially driving in busy city traffic. Should it be clear yes, would you get out and clean your plate off at every other intersection? Not likely… But yet he is expected to. “Hold on I can’t go to an accident and possibly save someones life, I have to clean my license plates again”

  • December 6, 2019 at 6:54 am
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    That’s all what humans do now take photos and judge, judge, judge

  • December 6, 2019 at 6:59 am
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    If a car like that was pulled over with black people in it they would have probably been shot and the cops would say its justified because they couldn’t see into the vehicle and “thought” they say a gun when it was just a wallet. I’m just sayin’.

  • December 6, 2019 at 8:30 am
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    I’m not defending the Popo on this..but has anyone thought that this particular vehicle @ that time was driven by a mechanic because that does happen.

  • December 6, 2019 at 8:41 am
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    These policemen should be setting an example for the general public rather than being a problem for themselves.I’m sure if a citizen was driving around with snow covered vehicle, event though the Highway Traffic states otherwise, any cop would have stopped that vehicle and ticketed the driver.
    It’s a safety concern not only for the person driving a snow covered vehicle but could also jeopardize safety of others as well.
    Let’s keep those windows and mirrors clean in the Winter.

  • December 6, 2019 at 8:55 am
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    Opp just tweeted about cleaning off your vehicle ironic I agree every public servant is held to a higher standard . we as a society need to be able to take our lumps without making excuses. Act responsible adults

  • December 6, 2019 at 10:31 am
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    Why not just admit that you are human, made a mistake and will undertake not to let it happen again. It’s ok we will forgive you. Don’t try to be right when it is patently obvious that you are wrong.

  • December 6, 2019 at 11:40 am
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    Public: So we get ticketed for this, but it’s okay for you?

    Police: We did nothing wrong

    Public: But I just got ticketed for this??? And it says right here…

    Police: …later nerd

  • December 6, 2019 at 11:44 am
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    Is it so hard for the police to simply state the facts: “ Yes, we do have some people without common sense in the force” (I’m being polite here). Instead, lets make a public statement that is TOTALLY beside the point.

  • December 6, 2019 at 3:33 pm
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    Just an FYI…… ambulances are not provided with snow brushes so they can’t clean them off…….are cruisers provided with snow brushes????? Better question to ask than what were the officers thinking…

  • December 6, 2019 at 5:10 pm
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    Law enforcement are supposed to be the example not the exception. This is deplorable behaviour and even worse that KINGSTON police condone this type of behaviour. Shameful to say the least. Lead by example!

  • December 6, 2019 at 5:37 pm
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    We all know that the police have always been do as we say and don’t do as we do. Not the first time police officers have been treated like they are above the law by their commanders when caught.

  • December 6, 2019 at 6:44 pm
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    So we aren’t going to bat an eye at the blatant disregard to the distracted driving laws? You can’t check your phone at red light while in the drivers seat why does this cunt get a free pass.. why because it was the police… fuck off both parties need charges 1 for the snow and 1 for distracted driving next time shut the fuck up ya snitch

  • December 6, 2019 at 7:21 pm
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    Why couldn’t Cst Ash Gutheinz, just say we while understand the optics and we need to do better at leading by example despite not knowing the entire situation/circumstances.

  • December 7, 2019 at 8:22 am
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    Of course they issued a statement that they aren’t breaking the law with this show of supreme laziness. I am all of 5′ tall and I still clear my SUV off EVERY SINGLE TIME! Why, because I was nearly killed by a lazy idiot like this. Basically another example of police indifference! Way to show the community you care by risking killing them because you were too cold to clear off your car. I don’t care if they thought they were breaking the law or not… common sense indicates they should be showing a better example to the public they are there to serve! Can you name a city I will never be visiting with my daughter! Hello Kingston!

  • December 7, 2019 at 10:34 am
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    when you drive on the roads, the snow and slush gets thrown up on your licence plate, so you can’t see it, not many people (none), stop to check every few minutes to see if it’s clear. I do clean my vehicle off before driving, but what happens when I am driving can’t be controlled, but if it gets to a point where I can’t see, then I will stop and resolve the issue

  • December 7, 2019 at 11:21 am
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    And the cops still cry ” why does everyone hate us?!?!” Have some respect and accountability..you’re public servants..act like it…no one ever wrote a so g called fu k the fire department.

  • December 7, 2019 at 2:47 pm
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    If this is Policeman driving this vehicle, then he should be slapped with a wet noodle by the police chief. But this one good life lesson for the person driving that cop car, these days, cameras are everywhere.

  • December 8, 2019 at 8:26 am
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    I’m sorry, but if something happens to me and my life is on the line..I am not going to condemn the officer who didn’t clear all the snow off his car, I’m going to thank him for getting there so quickly. However, if one of you is driving in front of me and you were too lazy to clear the snow off and if flies off and obstructs my view, shame on you.

  • December 9, 2019 at 7:08 am
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    Amazing how KPD would rather defend an clearly dumb move by their officer instead of saying oops we’re bad for what appears to be a double standard and talk to the officer about the appearance of stupidity! Sure as anything they’d write us a ticket

  • December 9, 2019 at 8:00 am
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    REALLY!?!? 100% agree that it should have been cleared off, BUT, for all the GOOD that Kingston Police do…..my goodness. Perhaps a random act of kindness and someone quickly brushing it off for them would have been a better response. Why choose to try to humiliate and shame? Rant over.

  • December 17, 2019 at 7:25 am
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    Sorry but from this picture, and laws pertaining, I would have to disagree with the police response. First off the response does not provide for a good standard of general safety for the public to follow – in sort I find it unnecessarily defensive and irresponsible. Secondly as per the picture: the rear view is clearly obstructed so side view mirrors come in to play, however side view mirror is also obstructed by ice, plate also obstructed – in combination a number of offence of the highway traffic act. Third….. at many points over the yrs most all provincial police forces have put forth marketing campaigns, about the importance of clearing a vehicle of ice and snow. It is well documented how important it is to clear ice and snow, and when it breaks free it can cause accidents a number of which are documented as causing death. Kingston police….. you can do much better in deed and in response, and need to as you are the yard stick for vehicle safety. Lead by example!

  • December 18, 2019 at 1:07 pm
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    Not breaking any laws? Hahaha now I’ve heard it all just because your a cop doesn’t mean your above the law and should be fined just like any one of us would. That is indeed a few violations people….

  • December 19, 2019 at 3:21 pm
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    Sovereign citizens that’s what the police are . Our laws and rules do not apply to them

  • December 22, 2019 at 9:43 pm
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    Ok sure but did they not forget having access snow on your car can be considered a loose loaf which is an offense under the highway traffic act and it is a pretty severe one as well it can cause accidents property damage and death so Kingston police excuses are like A HOLES everybody’s got one but u people are suppose to hold up the laws not break them be accountable

  • January 26, 2020 at 10:24 am
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    Not breaking any laws Const. Ash Gutheinz says . Obstructing the drivers vision is most definitely an offence and a licence place being non legible is another. Why do they think they can fool us. They can not. if there is any ice in that snow and it hurts some one then who is in the wrong. It can not be right for the police and wrong for us. Please don’t be like Trump and lie to us thinking we are going to believe it.

  • January 26, 2020 at 2:36 pm
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    The driver of this police cruiser is 100% liable and at fault, but since it’s clear it’s a “Do as we say, not as we do” corrupt police force, nothing will ever happen. Kingston Police are just a very corrupt filled force. Always film them!

  • January 26, 2020 at 11:18 pm
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    https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90h08

    Proper loading
    (2) No person shall operate or permit to be operated upon a highway a motor vehicle that carries a load or draws a vehicle that carries a load unless the load is loaded, bound, secured, contained or covered so that no portion of the load may become dislodged or fall, leak, spill or blow from the vehicle. 2002, c. 18, Sched. P, s. 26.

  • January 27, 2020 at 1:32 pm
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    My brother inlaw got yelled at by a female cop in Carleton Place and made to get out and clear off a wee bit of snow on one of his lights..the cop car in the pic looks like it’s got a wee bit of snow on it….hmmmmmm!!!

  • January 28, 2020 at 9:01 am
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    I would suggest that anyone that would like to test this , save this article to your phone . Next time it snows , only clear enough snow to safely drive your vehicle and see if you get stopped .

  • January 28, 2020 at 10:16 am
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    So it’s okay for cops to do it but not the public. What else is new?

  • January 29, 2020 at 3:56 am
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    Lead by example should be what the attorney general and police chiefs be making the accountable for. But once again no they make excuses and help them to continue to break the law because they think they are above it.

  • January 30, 2020 at 3:06 am
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    Next time- let’s hope they take the time to clean their windows instead of immediately responding to provide backup for a call where someone has a gun to thier head.
    Or maybe this officer just had to hold the hand of next of kin at the morgue- and cleaning snow was the last thing on their minds.

    I personally have gone out in the middle of the night with a half to nearly completely frozen vehicle in order to get to the fire hall as quick as possible. And I’ll do it again.

    Moral: very easy to judge when you don’t know what’s going on. Just be thankful others do these shitty jobs so you don’t have to.

  • February 3, 2020 at 1:25 am
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    The law isn’t going to profit from the ticket. As they would by forcing fines on the general public and especially the commercial end of things ticket for driver. Ticket for company and cvor points on top of that all. Increase mandatory insurance which is Ridiculous in the first place

  • February 3, 2020 at 1:52 pm
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    Hypocrites…They should of just owned up to it . Instead they excuse one law and ignore the others that they are obviously breaking.
    As soon as that snow blows off it’s a loose load infraction.. period.
    Shame.., Shame
    we are all humans and make mistakes .
    It’s your actions after that show what your about.!

  • February 3, 2020 at 4:53 pm
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    Yea suspend them oh yea when they get suspended it’s with pay always guess they win lol

  • February 4, 2020 at 5:02 am
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    @ Kingston Police…. Your statement says No traffic laws were being offended…. Can you just please read me that licence plate number please?? Oh wait what’s that it’s covered by snow?? And you also couldn’t see the person sitting beside you committing a traffic violation via cell phone because of all the snow blocking your vision??? Now I’ve been sternly warned about snow covering my plate before by police but yet apparently no offences were being committed according to your above statement so then was I being harassed??? You guys are a public service provided to uphold the law NOT be above the law…. That being said I do appreciate the work you Men and Women do on a daily but this picture and this statement are pure Shit!!

  • February 4, 2020 at 4:49 pm
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    Copy the picture save it and if you ever get pulled over and ticketed use this photo and fight it in court. You can also take him to court and sue them for millions if it ever causes an accident just make sure they understand that you are terrified to drive, which by the way means you can no longer go to work, it means you can no longer do a lot of things in your life and therefore they owe you millions in pain and suffering.

    • March 31, 2020 at 9:16 pm
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      Even if he had an emergency. That car should have been clean after the emergency. Where he was. He was just cruising during that picture. For the rest of a**holes trying to cover for them. Shut the fawk up. That is breaking the law.

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