Houston Police use semi-truck decoys, other tactics against aggressive driving

October 28, 7:11 PMHouston Page One ExaminerStephen Dean
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When Houston Police started using "decoy cars" to spot aggressive drivers, department leaders hinted they may use a stretched limo or a UPS truck to keep drivers from realizing a police officer is nearby.
Today, the department took it several steps further.
HPD announced it would have officers riding in 18-wheelers to spot dangerous drivers and then radio ahead to marked patrol cars.
They'll even be high above roadways in Texas Department of Transportation cherry-pickers. From above, they'll be calling ahead to marked patrol cars to stop motorists for speeding or changing lanes without safety or anything else they see from the unusual perch.
Undercover officers will also be stationed on some street corners, and if drivers are spotted without their seat belts, that could mean flashing lights at the next intersection as well.
HPD Capt. Carl Driskell said, "We hope that by letting the public know ahead of time that HPD is using these methods to target aggressive and unsafe drivers that we can reduce the number of accidents, especially fatal accidents."
KPRC Local 2 first reported on the stealth tactics last year before any public announcement had been made. Hidden news cameras spotted police officers in regular, beat up vehicles on Houston freeways. Some used radar, while others paced speeding traffic and then called ahead to marked patrol cars, listing off the violations witnessed by the undercover officers.
Years ago, the City of Dallas garnered headlines by announcing a 'road rage' patrol. Dallas claimed the same sort of stealth tactics would target enraged drivers, but that effort fizzled with nothing tangible to show for it.
HPD can't be accused of merely trying to grab headlines with this effort. Months after the first KPRC Local 2 news report, the department had thousands of citations on its books from these efforts, including several hauled to jail for felony warrants.
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