Yes, cops are using trickier and trickier methods for running ‘covert’ radar speed surveilance.
Last summer, hundreds of Central Florida motorists were ticketed by a costumed Uncle Sam officer in a weeklong operation targeting speeding holiday drivers.
About 20 sheriff’s deputies on motorcycles pulled over speeding motorists after they were detected by Uncle Sam’s laser speed-detection gun. During the four-hour traffic operation, 275 citations were issued, according to sheriff’s deputies.
“Unless Uncle Sam hops in your car and puts his foot on your gas pedal and makes you speed, we are not entrapping anybody,” Orange County traffic division Officer Ken Wynne said.
Speeding tickets handed out by Uncle Sam started at $80 and increased with each mile per hour over the speed limit, Orange County sheriff’s deputies said. Later, during the week of Fourth of July, Uncle Sam was on the lookout for red-light runners and aggressive drivers in Orange County. In the past, deputies have dressed up as elves near Christmas, the Grinch at New Year’s and a leprechaun around St. Patrick’s Day.
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Pennsylvania State Police turn to disguises to entrap motorists in Somerset County.
Pennsylvania State Police troopers are turning to disguises to ensnare motorists in Somerset County. Sergeant John Rock poses as a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation worker on Route 30 with a shovel in one hand and a radar gun in the other. Near Jennerstown, Rock and Trooper Loni Nist posed as a cowboy and cowgirl taking photos on a roadside while a marked police car hid, ready to pull over passing motorists. Last month, the two posed as a trooper couple stranded by a disabled SUV. Five police cruisers hid nearby to issue multiple speeding tickets.
“We’ve got a whole bunch of things up our sleeve,” Rock told the Tribune-Democrat newspaper with a laugh.
The disguises help troopers achieve quotas designed to increase the amount of revenue generated by police enforcement efforts. Rock has plans to expand the program, dubbed “Operation Sunset,” to cover even more roads in the area.
Source: (Tribune Democrat (Johnstown, PA), 3/18/2006)
Ocala, Florida brings back the homeless cop speed trap.
Police in Ocala, Florida have brought back the practice of dressing up like the homeless in order to generate significant traffic ticket revenue. Sergeant Billy Woods, a white officer with a mustache, sat behind a cardboard sign in shabby clothes while wearing a Rastafarian cap and fake dreadlocks. The sign hid his radar gun and a radio used to summon a gaggle of chase officers hidden down the road at South Pine and Southeast 17th Street.A sting on Tuesday at an intersection where the speed limit had been temporarily lowered to 25 MPH resulted in 58 motorists being cited for at least one infraction, generally speeding. A few received an additional ticket for neglecting to wear a seatbelt. Ocala police are not concerned that their actions may be seen as insensitive to the plight of the less fortunate.
“If we can think of it, we’ll do it,” Sergeant Lou Biondi told the Ocala Star-Banner.
Police in other Florida cities such as Palm Beach have used the same tactics, even going as far as adopting military camouflage to hide their actions from the motoring public.
Source: (Ocala Star-Banner (FL), 8/31/2006)
150 Drivers Ticketed In About 2 Hours
In Orange County, Florida, the problem isn’t dashing through the snow — It’s cars darting down the street at high speeds.
So, in mid-December, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office decided to do something about it by launching Operation ELF: Enforcing Limits and Fining speeders. Here’s how it worked: a sheriff’s deputy dressed as an elf clocked cars using a radar gun then dispatched a motorcycle deputy to pull them over and issue the driver a ticket.
More than 150 tickets were written in just over two hours one December afternoon. Some people said using a holiday icon to enforce the law didn’t seem right.
“That’s specifically why we didn’t use Santa Claus,” Ken Wyne of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said. “We didn’t choose a nativity scene. We chose an elf. An elf is known for their impish behavior. If you’re going to speed in Orange County, you never know who’s going to be on the street corner.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office continues to use various disguises throughout the holiday seasons. Watch Out!