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enforcement issues & programs
: overview
: targeting the pedestrian
: targeting the driver
: pedestrian "sting" operation


the truck fails to give the decoy police officer the right of way. getting busted in a pedestrian sting op in Reno, Nevada undercover pedestrian officers cross in Reno, Nevada
This tactic is a method for making an impact upon drivers who fail to respect pedestrian rights. Well done, it takes advantage of the news media's interest in news, reaching drivers through news broadcasts.

The news media is not interested in a story about someone getting a ticket for failing to stop for a crossing pedestrian. However, use a police decoy pedestrian, a large number of police and do it aggressively, that's news (at least for a while!).

The modern tactic was developed by Lieutenant John Miner and Officer Betsy Cable, of the City of Redmond, Washington, Police Department. The tragic death of three city employees crossing a Redmond street in a crosswalk led the Mayor of Redmond to ask the RPD to "do something" about right-of-way violations in the city.

Pedestrian stings were developed in Redmond, Washington. Currently, a vigorous program is in operation in Oregon, organized by the Oregon Department of Transportation. A very effective program is in operation in Reno, Nevada and Florida and Wisconsin cities are exploring this tactic.

Recipe for success:
  • With the assistance of your traffic engineer and the public, identify high risk locations for pedestrians.

  • Observe to see the types of violations that are occurring.

  • Calculate a reasonable amount of time for a driver to see and react to the pedestrian, mark that distance back from the crossing with a cone or sign. Miner recommends using the "slide to stop" formula using a speed 10mph over the posted limit.

  • The pedestrian is a police officer in high visibility civilian clothes. They do not step into the street if the car has passed the "cone".

  • Other officers observe the crossing attempts from concealment and pursue and apprehend violators. Where concealed observation is not possible, a radio in the decoy's hand works well.

  • Remember that the goal is a lot of media attention, not a lot of tickets. If 10 people get tickets and 100,000 hear about it you've been more successful than if 100 get tickets and only they know it!

  Related News Stories

Police holster their radar guns but stop and warn crosswalk speeders in Snohomish, Washington (Oct. 5, 2002) -- In three hours Friday morning, officers in nabbed some 60 drivers for driving through a crosswalk while a pedestrian was walking across the street. It was part of a sting designed to boost awareness of pedestrian safety. Read the full article at: