Police tighten traffic detail

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

Suffolk motorists had best beware-a radar could be pointed in your direction without rousing any suspicion.

Last week, Suffolk police took an &uot;innovative&uot; approach to nabbing drivers for traffic infractions, said Suffolk Police Lt. Debbie George. Officer Chris Butler put away his uniform and shiny black shoes to don a hard and work boots.

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And Butler wasn’t working an undercover operation at a construction site. Instead, he was an integral part of a new plan to pull over drivers who don’t obey the rules of the road.

This method, deemed &uot;unusual&uot; for Suffolk, George added, was successful at generating 62 traffic summons during a five-hour detail, including 58 infractions for speeding, and two for driving on suspended licenses.

Butler utilized a hand-held speed measuring device and radioed traffic infractions to officers who were waiting nearby in marked units.

The officers then performed traffic stops and issued citations for the speeding violations, and other problems detected.

Lt. Steve Patterson, who managed the detail, said this was the first time Suffolk officers attempted the &uot;incognito&uot; detail; however, it has worked in other jurisdictions.

George noted that there are advantages to this approach, aside from lower visibility of the officers to offenders: Officer and citizen safety.

This method allowed officers to work in an area, which are not conducive to traditional radar operation due to heavy traffic patterns.

The detail works like this, explained George:

The officers wait for a radio message from the &uot;worker,&uot; giving the waiting officers time to pull onto the roadway and perform safe traffic stops.

&uot;Hopefully because of this detail, drivers will think and remember that just because you do not see an officer,&uot; said George, &uot;does not mean that one is not around.

Driving within the speed limit is in everyone’s best interest.&uot;