Police tactic, “Project Drive Thru” lacks accountability and can lead to discrimination

In a June 14, 2018, article by Vice News it is reported that the police in the city of Burlington, have formalized “Project Drive Thru,” an initiative that rewards fast-food drive-thru employees for calling the police on suspected intoxicated drivers.

Falconers LLP lawyer, Anthony Morgan, commented on this development noting that, while the intentions of the program are good, hybrid civilian-policing models like “Project Drive Thru” lack accountability and can lead to discrimination. “I believe that eliminating intoxicated driving is incredibly important,” Morgan told VICE News in a phone call.

“[But] I worry about the biases that could [influence] the decision to call police on certain civilians. Stereotypes about the drunken Indian, or the weed-smoking black man, might [cause] workers to act on these biases [when] reporting to police.”

Morgan explained further how individuals’ privacy rights could be compromised under the program, especially since drive-thru workers aren’t required to file an official report when they call police about a driver.“Drive-thru workers don’t have the same rights [as police] to inspect or to report on what’s going on in a private person’s car,” he said, noting that in his opinion the practice could lead to potential violations of individuals’ Charter rights.

He also noted that it’s not always easy to identify drunk or high drivers and that drive-thru workers “don’t have the training and skills” needed to accurately determine who is impaired. “That’s simply not their role.”

“[Impaired] driving is a massive issue and it needs to be addressed,” Morgan stated to Vice News, “I just don’t think this is the way to do it.”

In the News

Every fast food drive-thru worker in this city is a police informant    VICE News, June 14, 2018

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