Dummy deputy on the job
Cohen said he got the idea after hearing that authorities elsewhere were using similar dummy cars. Some law enforcement agencies use cardboard cutouts of patrol cars, he said. “I figured I’m not that much of an artist; it would be easier for me to get a real patrol car,” Cohen said. Cohen chose a car that was a few years old and had been taken out of service. A deputy drives the car, which has no radio or other equipment, to a designated location and gets a ride back with another deputy after parking it by the side of the road. Inside is a mannequin in a deputy’s uniform. The dummy “deputy” does not need any pants, because it has no legs. The Sheriff’s Department has been doing similar deployment of dummy vehicles since 1997, Cohen said. The sergeant said he recently sat near the dummy vehicle in his own civilian car and saw plenty of drivers hit their brakes when they drove by. He plans to move the dummy vehicle around the Santa Clarita Valley and suggested that it could be used for crime prevention as well. “You never know if you’re going to be passing a decoy car or the real officer,” he said. [email protected] (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “We just don’t have that many people, so we decided we’ll give this a try.” The Sheriff’s Department started the initiative last week and has been putting the vehicle by the side of Magic Mountain Parkway near the Interstate 5 freeway exit. Emily Bush, 19, drives by to get to work. She’s seen a sheriff’s vehicle parked by the side of the road recently. She admits to usually driving fast off the freeway and says seeing the vehicle has gotten her to slow down. “I think it’s great,” she said. “Because even if there’s no one inside of it to actually catch you, it does remind you not to drive as fast. It’s probably going to make that road a lot safer.” SANTA CLARITA – The mannequin won’t issue a ticket, but it might persuade a speeder to take his foot off the accelerator. At least that’s what Santa Clarita sheriff’s station personnel are hoping as they try something new to slow zooming traffic. Sheriff’s officials have begun setting up an old sheriff’s vehicle roadside with a uniformed department-store mannequin at the wheel. “We were getting a lot of complaints and having patrol cars go to different areas regarding speed, and we just couldn’t do it,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Cohen, who works the traffic division.