Government Fleet Top News

Pennsylvania Police Dress in Camouflage to Catch Speeders

June 16, 2004

PITTSBURGH -- Police at the Rockview Barracks near State College are using so-called "camo cops" to catch speeding motorists, according to The Associated Press. The State police started positioning officers, dressed in camouflage and armed with radar guns, in the woods next to the freeway after a 44-vechicle crash on Interstate 80 that killed six people in January. Lt. Jeffrey Watson, station commander, and Sgt. David Holmes wanted to reduce speeding and accidents and came up with the idea. The tactic, which Holmes has used for more than a dozen years, is catching on with state police in other counties.In one five-hour blitz in Indiana County last week, troopers issued 25 citations to motorists zooming along at least 15 miles faster than the posted 55 mph limit — including one cited for going 90 mph. That police are going under cover to catch speeders shouldn't come as a surprise, Watson said. After all, they go undercover for other investigations, and variations on camouflage have been used before, such as when troopers pose as construction workers. In 1999, police in Jacksonville, Fla., dressed as homeless people, construction workers and stranded motorists to catch traffic violators. One undercover officer even carried a sign reading, "I work for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. You never know. Drive safely." Police in Las Vegas later adopted the idea.

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