Monday, March 15, 2004see you
Attention speeders: Watch out for the Dodge Intrepid. Or any other car with three antennas on the roof.
That's the message from the Massachusetts State Police Stealth program, which stands for State Police Traffic Enforcement Aimed at Lowering Crashes by Targeting Hazardous Drivers.
In other words, they're using unmarked cars.
``This makes them very discreet,'' Sgt. Scott Range said. ``This also makes them very effective.''
And to prove it, he invited us to ride along - though at first he sounded like a car rental agent.
``I can put you in an Intrepid or a similar vehicle designed to do the same type of work,'' he offered.
We chose the latter, which will remain secret, and rode with Sgt. Dean Bennett in the Route 3/I-93/495 area, finding no end of cars passing us pushing 80 mph.
``You see lots of people going 75-80 but they're not creating a hazard,'' said Bennett, who didn't generally react unless they were doing something else wrong.
A BMW going 88 was.
``He's on that guy's bumper,'' Bennett said as our car morphed into a cacophony of flashing blue.
The real anti-road-rage stuff is inside the car, however: dash camera, two types of radar and a computer online with the Registry.
``I asked him if he's had any violations in the past 12 months,'' he said. ``I can check (if he's) honest.''
He was but he was cited.
Troopers can also call up drivers' pictures, which Bennett found useful after stopping a woman recently. Or so he thought.
``I come back to the car and it's registered to a guy. She had two different licenses, one male and one female,'' he said.
Rights of the transgendered aside, that's not quite legal.
While our ride didn't net any criminals, it probably did nab folks a marked car wouldn't have.
The National Motorists Association's Ivan Sever questioned that.
``It's only designed to make money,'' he said.
``If the object were to slow people down, they would be using marked cars with their lights flashing all day.''
Sgt. Range disagreed.
``We see things we normally wouldn't see. Would someone drive by a marked cruiser at 100 mph?''
Maybe not, but we see it enough. And our cellphone's set to the state police.