08-19-2007, 01:47 PM #1
Cop cutout reminds drivers to slow down
SMYRNA, Tenn. - Hoping to deter speeders, a Tennessee town uses a lifelike body double to remind drivers that the police are watching.
A full-size corrugated plastic cutout of a real Smyrna police officer is pretty convincing to most drivers when they catch a glimpse of him pointing his radar gun on the side of a busy street.
Who better to pose for the picture than Sgt. Andy Miller, the officer who heads up the city's traffic enforcement division?
"It's meant to get people to think about it and slow down. It's actually worked," said Miller.
The speed limit on pedestrian-heavy Front Street is 15 mph, but some drivers speed between 25 and 60, Miller said.
"We come over here on a regular basis and run radar, but we can't be everywhere all the time," Miller said. "With this, we can be."
The idea for the posed patrolman came from Jim Gammon, whose sign company sits on busy Front Street. He suggested it as a way to slow drivers and then printed up the two-dimensional police officer. After less than a month on the street, the cutout is working so well the city has asked Gammon to make another.
"Any time they'll see it, (motorists) immediately slow down," Gammon said. "The trick is to keep them guessing."
Sometimes Miller even stands behind his plastic twin and catches speeding drivers who apparently aren't fooled by the cutout.
Smyrna resident Norma Stuteville said seeing "the little cardboard cop" made her pump her brakes.
"He kind of caught us by surprise," she laughed. "It definitely caught our eye."
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