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Get those speeders - no matter what!

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Get those speeders - no matter what!

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
March 15, 2009

While driving south on Route 47 in Woodstock this afternoon, I noticed a Woodstock Police car parked in a parking lot well off the roadway and facing oncoming traffic, where the officer could watch southbound traffic and check speeds with a good radar gun.

The obvious problem with the cop's being parked well off the road is the acute angle to the roadway at which he is operating the radar gun. Radar operation manuals give specific instructions for use at excessive angles to the roadway, because the readings may not be true speed readings.

The biggest problem I foresaw was how he was going to nab the speeder, if he got a speed high enough over the speed limit to cite the violator. By the time he noted the speed, locked it in, and began driving toward the parking lot exit, a number of cars might have passed the driveway. If the officer wanted to get out into traffic and catch the speeder, how dangerous a condition would he create by busting up to the curb with lights and siren on and trying to get out into traffic? And then get around the cars between the violator and him?

Catching a speeder in a congested area without causing an accident yourself is a dicey situation. Is it really worth it to the City of Woodstock to endanger a number of motorists AND an officer just for one more ticket on the afternoon shift?

I intended to go back and watch the watcher but didn't. But there is lots of daylight left. And even plenty of watching to do after dark.

Legitimate tickets? No problem. Catch the reckless drivers using the right-hand lane along Route 47 for a high-speed passing lane; e.g., in front of Taco Bell and in front of the Harley-Davidson dealership. Catch them on Lake Avenue in front of Wal-Mart. I'll be out there applauding your actions.

But grabbing some driver at 40MPH in a 35MPH zone to meet your quota?

Thumbs down! TWO thumbs down!!!

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