The Winnipeg Police Run fund raiser took place yesterday, May 6, 2012.
For some bizarre and unknown reason to us, The Police Run is detoured off Portage Avenue onto our street. Our street is a private non-thoroughfare crescent, with only 2 entrances, both off of Portage Avenue and both blocked on an annual basic by the City of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Police department for their own fund raiser event.
And as it happens every year, we – the local home owners on Assiniboine Crescent – are abused by the people that work the event. Meaning the civilian volunteers and the Winnipeg Police. What do I mean by abuse? Harass and refuse access to the local home owners when we try to gain entrance and exit to our neighbourhood during this event.
Last year I was verbally abused and threatened at length by a civilian volunteer when I tried to gain exit to Portage Avenue with my car, until a police officer came over to join in the verbal abuse and treat me like I’m doing something wrong. When I wouldn’t back down, he finally yelled at the volunteer to let me pass when there was a break in the traffic. The volunteer said to the officer I didn’t think I had to allow anyone to pass. And the officer said, let the cars through when there is a break in the runners. But this was only after he was also verbally abusive and rude to me. Meanwhile there was a long line up behind me of other local home owners from my street, also waiting for exit.
This year when we attempted to leave our street during the event, there was no one working the intersection. It was partially blocked, and there were both police and volunteers a short distance away, they looked at us and ignored us. So we fended for ourselves, looked for runners and made our exit. Other than the complete disregard for us waiting there at first for some attention, so they could do their job of looking out for the runner’s safety, it was only a minor annoyance. But we couldn’t help but shake our heads at the disinterest in us and for the runners safety of us having to watch for traffic and runners ourselves.
On our return we had the complete opposite situation. There was a Winnipeg Police Cadet, cadet badge C55 to be exact, that blocked the intersection and tried to waved us away, no questions asked. At this point there were minimal runners passing when we arrived. We pointed out to him we live on the street. He said he didn’t care, he instructed us to turn around and leave. He suggested we park the car somewhere on the other side of Portage Avenue and walk home. We said we would not walk home several blocks, when there was no reason to refuse local home owners access. We pointed out there isn’t even any runners blocking our path, only him. We insisted he allow us entrance to our street as we needed to return home. He became rude, and threatened to take some sort of action if we didn’t leave. We refused to leave, there were no runners and we wanted access to our home. He threatened to call a Police Supervisor. We encouraged him to call the supervisor! He yelled at us to park somewhere else and wait till the Police Supervisor arrived. Mean while one of our neighbours was pulling into the intersection making an exit. We asked the cadet if he was going to refuse our neighbour (that lives 3 doors down from us) to exit the street. He was completely dumbfounded and had nothing to say. He finally gave in and let us go through.
Later when my partner left home to go to work, still during this event, he was stopped by a supervisor for a conversation, which was at first aggressive and confrontational. My partner asked if he stopped him to have yet another argument about the situation. He said begrudgingly that he wanted to apologise. I wasn’t at this last exchange, but it seems to me like a poor way to make an apology for the cadet’s behaviour. I’m told they were also now restructuring the access to our street and re-routing the runners. Obviously someone was finally thinking the situation through.
We live on a closed private crescent, with only two entrances. Why is this event re-routed off of a main thoroughfare (Portage Ave.) onto our street and make use of both our private street’s intersections? Why can’t it stay on Portage Avenue? Next, why is our crescent being completely blocked? This is a fund raiser, not a murder investigation, fire or disaster. What right does the City of Winnipeg or the Winnipeg Police Department have to block complete access to local tax paying home owners? Compare this to Wellington Crescent being blocked to all BUT local home owners on Sundays for a bike and walking path. The home owners on our street were not asked for our agreement to be put-out by this or any other fund raising event. If the City wants to block or limit street access, then do so on a multilane highway and stay out of the crescents and private residential streets, or at least seek the home owners majority approval.
Now let’s discuss the abuse. Why aren’t the police and the civilian volunteers working this event being educated on what they should and should not be doing and saying? Make an effort to properly train them on how they should be treating people around the event, and affected by the event. This is a fund raiser, not a criminal investigation! Both the City of Winnipeg, and the Winnipeg Police Department, should be ashamed of themselves for the way people like us on Assiniboine Crescent get treated every single year during the Winnipeg Police Run.
So what would we like to see different? Take your fund raiser off our street! And treat people with at least some sort of respect during your fund raiser!