Unmarked cars cause problems

Published 7:51pm Tuesday, December 27, 2011

There is a disturbing practice developing again in traffic law enforcement I have noticed of late. It is particularly upsetting for women traveling alone or with small children and the elderly. I thought the use of unmarked opaque glassed enforcement cars and SUVs in traffic control was scaled back several years ago after the outcry from women and elderly drivers. However, it seems to be finding its way back into the law enforcement arsenal. The criticism remains a matter of drivers not being able to identify who is in the unmarked car and whether it is safe to stop or not.

Ironically, it is the same complaint law enforcement officers made when some vehicles had opaque tinted windows. There was a law passed to protect the officers, so why would they use the same tactic against drivers? It isn’t something they have to do to catch traffic law violators. For goodness sake, all they have to do is get on any street or highway and just sit there a while. Speeding and breaking traffic laws are commonplace everywhere you go and drivers are brazen with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for catching violators and I’m certainly for the officers’ safety in doing so; however, I’m for the motor vehicle operator’s safety too. The fact is you can’t tell who is in these unmarked opaque windowed cars. After being stopped and approached by a uniformed officer, there is still doubt as to their identity. They could just as well be an imposter and don’t think me paranoid because it has happened before.

Blue lights and uniforms can very easily be acquired and used. Why cause this anxiety on the motoring public and possibly cause someone to be harmed by an imposter?

I’m for all stealthy methods in existence to catch violators except this practice.

Radar guns, if properly maintained and calibrated, intersection cameras to hiding in the bushes are all fair game as far as I’m concerned, but sinister looking cars with dark glasses and no markings should be outlawed. It is a safety hazard for young women, mothers and the elderly traveling the streets, highways and byways of our state.

Having been one of the first seven state trooper cadets hired in 1959, I am seldom at odds with law enforcement tactics. However, this is one that could lead to unintended consequences for the public, if not used for surveillance only.

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