Stealth cars prowling Big Island for drunks, speeders
Hawaii County police officers assigned to the Traffic Enforcement Unit will be patrolling Big Island roads in unmarked cars following a successful pilot program using one such vehicle.
Once the Police Department equips the officers' subsidized vehicles with new equipment, all eight members of the Traffic Enforcement Unit will have a car with LED blue lights above the rearview mirror, in the vehicle's grille and on the rear deck, rather than the standard blue dome light on the roof. The vehicles will also be equipped with strobe lights in the headlights and taillights.
Police officers driving the unmarked cars will be in full uniform. The Police Department encourages any member of the public who wants to verify the legitimacy of an officer to ask for identification or call 911 by cell phone. Sergeant Christopher Gali said the Police Department received no complaints from the public during the trial period.
"Our pilot program was successful in detecting high-risk drivers, such as impaired drivers, speeders, reckless drivers and drivers who overtook the unmarked police cars in no-passing zones or on the right," Gali said. "We also found that when the lighting system was activated, the unmarked car was more visible than a subsidized vehicle with only a blue roof-mounted light."
The pilot program using the single unmarked vehicle began in February 2006