A Maryland State Police officer was looking for speeders yesterday from a cherry picker above trees and telephone wires. The Baltimore Sun reports that by the time drivers realize there’s a cop with a radar gun in the trees, they’re being pulled over. “I get mistaken as being part of a road crew. They figure I’m out here with the orange truck and I must be fixing the light or something,” said Sgt. Steve Aaron, a 24-year veteran.
It’s part of a new aggressive traffic enforcement campaign by state police nationwide. In Alabama, officers are disguising themselves as construction workers. In Virginia and Maryland, police routinely patrol highways in unmarked red Chevrolet Camaros. Maryland troopers have driven sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks.
There are plenty of critics of hidden speed traps. If their purpose is to write as many tickets as possible and bring in as much revenue as possible, they are succeeding,” said Eric Skrum of the National Motorists Association. “But if they’re trying to slow down traffic or encourage people to drive safely on a certain road, being hidden doesn’t accomplish that. Studies and common sense tell you that when you’re trying to make a road safer, you need police visibility.”