A police officer appearing to be a panhandler has left at least one Regina driver feeling misled.
A driver who stopped along Truesdale Drive Wednesday said he undid his seat belt to hand over some cash to a man he assumed was a panhandler. He apparently soon found himself with a $175 dollar ticket for not wearing a seat belt.
Reports quote that driver as now saying its a case of entrapment, but Insp. Evan Bray with the Regina Police Service disagrees with the man’s story.
“We would not write a ticket to a person who took their seat belt off to give money to someone that they thought was a panhandler,” he said.
Insp. Bray says there is more to the story of the police panhandler sting, but that will only come out in court.
He says the Regina Police Service has used the “panhandler police officer” approach before – among other methods – with success. He pointed out that the officer in plain clothes was carrying a sign which read, “I’m not broke, I’m not hungry. Have a great day”. Many people asked what he was there for at which time he showed his badge.
That said the sting also resulted in 40 tickets for cell phone use or for seat belt infractions in just an hour and 15 minutes.
“I drive home from work every day. I see people texting on their phones. If I’m driving in a police car, I don’t have quite the same success,” Insp. Bray explained.
He says the ‘panhandler police’ approach is much like looking for drivers who are on their phones or are not wearing their seat belt with an unmarked police car.