Mower radar is catching speeders
By Jeremy Pittari
item Staff Writer
PICAYUNE — Speeders traveling on Cooper Road Tuesday morning were caught by surprise when they were clocked traveling faster than the speed limit by a radar gun perched on a city lawn mower.
Tickets were written by patrol officers after Lt. Chad Dorn with the Picayune Police Department, sitting on a city lawn mower complete with safety vest, clocked them traveling faster than the speed limit. Officers were stationed at near by locations waiting for Dorn to notify them of an alleged speeder.
Dorn said he came up with the idea as a way to ensure motorists are abiding by the rules of the road, even if they don’t see a patrol car. Tuesday was the third day Dorn implemented his new idea and he estimates that during those three days almost 90 traffic tickets were issued as a result.
Typically motorists will slow down when they see a patrol car, Dorn said. However, motorists usually don’t expect to see a radar gun on a lawn mower. This effort is designed to ensure that motorists will obey the traffic laws whether they see a patrol car or not.
“We’re going to continue with it, but we might not necessarily be on a lawnmower,” Dorn said.
During the operation the officers were looking for seatbelt, speeding and loud noise violations.
Dorn didn’t just lounge around while the patrol officers did all the dirty work. He said last week while he was waiting for officers to write tickets and regroup, he kept busy by mowing some grass.
The effort did inspire some ire in those who were caught speeding. One motorist taunted Dorn by continually passing by his location on Cooper Road after he was issued a ticket Tuesday morning. Later that morning an anonymous caller left a voicemail at the Picayune Item saying he received a ticket as a result of the operation. He professed that the operation was unfair and he is a law abiding citizen and a taxpayer. The caller said in the voicemail he had been issued two tickets recently for speeding, once while driving his child to school and another time while on his way to drop his child off at day care before heading to work.
“They’re just taking money from good people, basically taxpayers like I said, that obey the law,” the caller said.
MOWER PATROL — After Tuesday, some motorists might start looking for a scene like this along the roadway, a lawnmower with a police officer running radar. Lt. Chad Dorn, stitting on the mower, came up the idea to ensure motorists obey the traffic laws whether they see a police car or not. (Photo by Jeremy Pittari) By Jeremy Pittari/By Jeremy Pittari (Click for larger image)