Using Non-Cops In Cop Cars To Slow Traffic

from the sneaky-sneaky-sneaky dept

While red light cameras and speed cameras are increasingly getting a bad name in dealing with traffic problems, it looks like some police departments are experimenting with somewhat different methods to dealing with speeders. Near where I live, it’s pretty common to see police cars parked at intersections with dummies in them. The idea, of course, is that people see the car, and react, hopefully without realizing there’s just a plastic dummy inside. Still, this is only effective at that particular intersection, and once people learn about the dummies, they tend to discount them pretty quickly (I even know someone who once freaked out a friend by attacking a police car with a dummy — because she knew there was just a dummy in the car, and the friend didn’t). One small police department has come up with an odd method to deal with this issue. They’re putting non-police volunteers into police cars to drive around — at the speed limit of course. When police cars are driving at the speed limit, everyone goes the speed limit (or below). The volunteers can’t write anyone a ticket, but can radio for help and (the article notes, as if you need to be in a police car to do this) write down license numbers. Apparently, other police departments are considering similar programs. Of course, the bigger this gets, the more likely someone is going to abuse the impression that they’re a police officer to do something bad. Already, there are stories of scammers and criminals who pretend to be police officers. This makes it even easier for those people to appear legitimate.

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Comments on “Using Non-Cops In Cop Cars To Slow Traffic”

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Beck says:

Deterrence and Revenue

The Ohio Highway Patrol has started a program where they station troopers in high accident areas and high speed areas. They have found the deterrent effect reduces accidents and speeding.

Community officials in the affected areas are upset though because the emphasis on deterrance through visibility has led to reduced court revenues.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

For years, I’ve maintained that the best way to defeat radar detectors is to put permanent radar emitters under every highway underpass (and wherever else you can). Dumb guns that do nothing but set off radar detectors, preventing those who are most likely to speed from doing exactly that.

This is just another example, and it will work — for a while.

Because in both examples, people will lower their fear of the policing and be more likely to return to bad driving behavior.

dorfman says:

Re: Re. Use of radar emitters by the CHP

It seems that the CHP may already have employed this tactic along may main highways in NorCal where I live. Along certain stretches of highway along my commute to work every 30 seconds or so my radar detector get pegged at full signal strength on K-band. I have learned to ignore any K-band alarm but the effect is truly annoying. I have not slowed down as a result so I’m not sure this is an effective deterrent unless they actually used Ka-band emitters.

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