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All the Right Moves

Traffic cop makes motorists smile

By Jason Santerre

If you’ve passed the corner of de la Gauchetière and Peel between 7 and 10 a.m. in recent weeks, you were treated to quite the spectacle. Equipped with a blue uniform, ball cap, white gloves and whistle, said spectacle is hard to miss. But don’t stare too long. You just might cause a fender bender, the last thing you or officer Julian Bach wants to see.

“My first priority is to keep traffic flowing and make sure the public is safe,” says officer Bach. But there’s no denying that his animated gesticulations, toothy smile, and undeniable enthusiasm make for a more enjoyable morning commute. There’s even a Youtube video paying homage to his “dance moves” (http://tinyurl.com/nns3za9).

Officer Bach says Manhattan’s traffic cops inspired his unique style. “The officers in New York definitely have a certain style and energy and when I saw the people responding to it, I thought that kind of flash suits my personality so I incorporated it into what I do in Montreal.”

At only 29 years of age, officer Bach is already an eight-year veteran on the police force. He says he’s witnessed drivers at both their best and worst. And yet, he keeps smiling, keeps doing his thing. Chalk it up to youthful enthusiasm or trying to make the best of a mundane job directing traffic. “You know, sometimes police officers get a bad rap, so maybe this is a way to balance that.”

He says the response is always positive. “People yell at me, cheering. They honk their horns. They’re laughing and smiling. I mean, look, there’s an orange traffic cone every three metres in this city. Bridges are closed, streets are clogged, there’s construction and people are frustrated, so if I can put a smile on a commuter’s face, it’s a perk of the job for me.”

Fall 2014, Vol 6 N°4

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