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Phantom Police Car Hits Kingstowne

Police hope empty cruiser will reduce speeding.

Police officers in the Franconia District Station have begun using an unusual method of traffic control: an unoccupied police car they call "the ghost cruiser."

The cruiser is intended to make drivers slow down by making them believe an officer is inside, according to Officer Richard Henry. The car is parked along medians in the Franconia District, which includes Kingstowne.

Because the car's windows are tinted, it's difficult for drivers to tell whether there is a police officer in the car looking for speeders, or if it's just a ruse.

""You can see that it hasan impact by just being out there," Henry said, adding that a more formal test of the cruiser's impact will occur in the next few days. An officer is expected to lay down pads that monitor the speed of cars that run over them in the street near the cruiser, and test whether speeds decrease when the cruiser is parked nearby.

The empty cruiser has already had one unintended consequence. Henry says that one woman, worried after seeing that no one was in the car, called the police station to make sure there wasn't an injured officer inside.

"While attending community events, I have been told by numerous citizens they have seen the ghost cruiser while driving and have slowed their speed," station commander Captain Shawn Bennet said in a press release.

Henry said the cruiser is placed on medians every three to four days, and is managed by another officer at the station.

"I think he put sit out there as much as he can," Henry said.

Donna September 15, 2010 at 01:42 PM
Why the need to explain all the details about it ? Now we can just blow right by it, knowing that there is no officer inside. I never understand the media's need to 'tell all'....
Will Sommer September 15, 2010 at 05:04 PM
Hi Donna! Thanks for your comment (the first!) and for checking out Kingstowne Patch. You make a good point about this article and the ghost cruiser. The idea for this article came from a police press release, so I assume they aren't concerned about people reading about it and not slowing down. Since real, live officers actually do sit in medians looking for traffic, and you can't see whether the car is occupied because of tinted windows, I think the car will continue to spook potential speeders.

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