FC: Radar-gun vigilantes team up with cops to nab speeders --NYT

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Mon Mar 25 2002 - 19:55:28 PST

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    From: "Danny Yavuzkurt" <ady1at_private>
    To: "Declan McCullagh" <declanat_private>
    Subject: NYT: Armed With Radar, Civilians Take Aim At Speeders
    Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 09:01:28 -0500
    Article from the NY Times about regular people who take the law, er, radar
    guns, into their own hands, then turn over information on speeders to the
    police (though at least for now it doesn't have any real punitive effect,
    other than a 'please stop speeding' letter sent to the owner of the car).
    Perhaps, though, this article showcases a growing trend of the citizenry
    cooperating with, even deputizing itself to, the police.  Good or bad?  Are
    the US populace slowly changing into collaborators to a police state?  Or
    should regular citizens have the right to determine *by themselves* (with the
    help of technology) whether people are breaking the law, and to report it to
    the police (who, after all, can't be there all the time)?  A few interesting
    issues to think about...
    March 25, 2002
    Armed With Radar, Civilians Take Aim at Speeders
    PLEASANTON, Calif. - They never aspired to work for the law. They did not give
    their operation a code name. But when things got out of control in their
    neighborhood, Amy Hiss and Kathy Maio teamed up for a bona fide sting
    operation, with full police backing.
    They stood at opposite ends of the block, the botanist and the librarian, hid
    behind trees and communicated with each other via cellphone. Ms. Hiss held the
    radar gun, while her partner wrote down the license numbers of their quarry:
    drivers exceeding 30 miles per hour.
    "We even had her little girl working with us - in case the cellphones went
    out," said Ms. Hiss, 37, whose day job is researching wetlands and endangered
    plants for an engineering firm. "It was exciting at first," she said of the
    stakeout. "But it got boring fast."
    The police in a growing number of cities, including this San Francisco suburb,
    are lending radar guns to residents who want to help crack down on traffic
    offenders. The volunteers then turn the information over to the police, who
    send letters to car owners telling them that their cars were seen speeding and
    reminding them to observe speed limits. No one is ticketed, because a car's
    registered owner might not be the driver.
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