We leveled the playing field on traffic speeders – hank

comment by HANK:  regarding “saturation” police work.

In the 70’s (no not 18 seventies) I was the chief executive officer of the LI state parkway police, (160 miles of parkways in nassau and suffolk county, NY.)

We received a big federal grant to institute saturation traffic enforcement in the two counties. The enforcement squad had 12 men , 6 in each county, and the Lt. in charge determined location, enforcement technique , and time of day or night. and was fond of saturation radar work with one sgt and 5 patrolman. This is the way it worked.

A single unmarked radar car parked on the grass shoulder, and when a speeder went by the radar, 5 patrolman were waiting to wave you over and get on a line to receive a traffic summons. It was like a wall of a traffic enforcement mine field, in which no speeder got by. Every 5 patrolman had unmarked police cars supplied by the federal government to go after a speeder who did not stop as directed.

All speeders got caught, joined the line to get the traffic summons issued. Some of those unfortunate speeders would be late for work.

In addition, with two rows of vehicles parked in a line on the grass shoulder waiting to receive their traffic summonses, all traffic was slowed as on lookers watched .  We had a sign indicating radar speeding stop point, but still those motorists who receiving a sigh of relief that they had not been stopped wanted to watch the spectacle.

I started receiving phone calls in my office from the public’s outcry about this new traffic enforcement technique. But the endeavor was effective. As determined by DOT speed traffic counters, the average speed monitored for the traffic public went down to about 5 mph over the speed limit.  And my reports showed that the number of traffic accidents were declining.

The Lt. told me that he was monitoring average speed in particular sections of the parkway and his radar squads did not change location until the average speed was monitored closer to the speed limit. On the second  day of enforcement in the same location on the Meadowbrook Parkway, a repeat offender from the day before got stopped. He got out of his car, started kicking his car, tried to break the car windows with his fists, and was opening up his trunk (to get a lug wrench?) when the police officers’ stopped him from further damaging his car.

I don’t think the TV advertisements show a car racing at a high speed, or am I wrong?  I see beautiful girls driving around on deserted streets that look like city streets at 3am (what is that all about?) and then I see cars splashing through mud, or parked on an unacessasble tip of a mountain.  But cars racing to work in order to pay off those expensive vehicle, I do not see in TV advertisements.  Everything will slow down and be better when self driving cars take over the road.

Sooner or later, if you were a speeder on the major LI state parkways you would be caught. The cat and mouse game no longer became a level playing field.

— the following referenced article got me remembering our saturation police work on the LI parkways:

….In addition to the checkpoints, Port Orange police plan to conduct “monthly saturation patrols in the city” that will focus on detecting drunken and impaired drivers, Doyle said last week….

read more at http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20180418/port-orange-dui-checkpoint-postponed

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2 thoughts on “We leveled the playing field on traffic speeders – hank

  1. I am a New Yorker and wish we had stricter fines for expired plates red light runners stop signs and change turn signals. If enforced the budget would carry itself. Are those long islanders following your guidelines today?

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  2. Joan, I have no idea what is happening with traffic on LI right now. I retired from police work in 1982 and moved to florida in 1994. I do think traffic violations in my Port Orange area are increasing. On the police scanner there are a good number of signal 12s, reckless drivers, and most of them are fleeing from police cars. There is a sensible policy not to chase such reckless drivers, in order to lessen the danger of innocent motorists becoming involved in an accident with the fleeing vehicles. There also are a good number of road rage incidents. We live in a frustrating world, and traffic in our area is getting more frustrating to deal with.
    — hank

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