RCMP places metal cut-out of officer on roadside to trick drivers
By Chandler Walter, Contributor
He may not have a brain, but he sure looks like he has a speed gun.
The Coquitlam RCMP has decided to place a metal cut-out of an RCMP officer on the side of the road in rotating locations around Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, in the hopes of slowing down would-be speeders.
The metal cut-out, affectionately named “Constable Scarecrow” in a release from the Coquitlam RCMP, will be the first of his kind in Canada, though Coquitlam RCMP Traffic Section Sergeant Quentin Frewing said that a similar strategy has been used across the Atlantic Ocean.
“We’ve seen this sort of idea used before in the United Kingdom, but we haven’t seen it used here in combination with scientific monitoring,” Frewing said in the release. “We think it could work, and it’s a low-cost, good-humoured way to improve our presence and perhaps make people think twice about speeding.”
The release wouldn’t state exactly where the Constable would be placed but warned that it would likely be on hand at some of the more troublesome stretches of roadway throughout the two cities.
Many of the chosen locations will be partly decided by data collected by the RCMP’s Black Cat Radar system, which can detect a vehicle’s size, speed, direction, and lane position. It is able to gather data about where the fastest—and most dangerous—stretches of road really are.
Coquitlam RCMP Traffic Services Staff Sergeant Mark McCutcheon said in a separate release, “We got the Black Cat in early March and we’ve been using it in specific locations where we’re getting complaints from the public. The Black Cat isn’t used for giving out tickets, but when we evaluate the data it collects, we can make well-informed decisions about where our enforcement teams can be most effective.”
McCutcheon said that the system, being highly portable, is a great fill-in for when actual officers may be otherwise preoccupied.
“Since our traffic officers can’t be everywhere, there’s a good chance we’ll use the Black Cat in your area,” said McCutcheon in the release. “It’s a good reminder for everyone to slow down, be realistic about travel times to reduce your risk of crashing, and arrive at your destination safely.”
Some of the most troubling places found by the Black Cat System will be ideal spots to set up shop for Constable Scarecrow… and potentially a few of his police friends.
Drivers thinking that they may not be in danger of a traffic violation once they realize that the cut-out is not actually a real constable may be in for a surprise, as the release said that there may be a human police officer waiting down the road with a very real traffic ticket.
“Constable Scarecrow doesn’t write tickets of course, but drivers should be aware that real Mounties, and our Speed Watch volunteers, might be right around the corner waiting to help out,” Sergeant Frewing said in the release. “The real goal here is to keep speeds down and keep our roads safe. That’s the sort of result that would make Constable Scarecrow sleep well at night—if he needed any sleep.”