TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Say hello to Manne-cop!
Officers with the Tucson Police Department brought out two of their 'fakest' and finest on Thursday, August 16, using a mannequin to stop violators on the south side of Tucson.
Thursday was the first time they've used two mannequins, purchased by Sgt. Corie Nolan, after TPD administration challenged officers within his Operations Division South to change bad driving behavior around the city. They first issued the challenge in November 2017.
"It's fun. It's challenging to try and get people to change their driving behaviors. Because that's ultimately why we're out here," Nolan said.
His team of traffic officers propped up the counterfeit cops as a deterrent near Silverlake and South Kino in Tucson. They also had real officers there writing real tickets, too.
Nolan said they've tried many different props before like decoy cars, or a marked patrol car, or police cars with messages to 'slow down' on their windshields.
"They didn't work as much as (Thursday's) deployment did. A lot of the people we would stop would say, yeah, they saw the police car or the message or speed limit signs, but just didn't think twice of it afterwards," Nolan said.
Nolan was a motorcycle officer from 2009-2014 and then returned to the motorcycle in 2016 as a supervisor.
"We're just out there to do a job," he said. "I know that out there (on the streets) people think they're never going to get a warning - that they're always going to get a ticket from a motorcycle officer, which isn't the case. Our main job is to change their driving behaviors, however that is. Whether we write a citation, give them a verbal or written warning."
When asked, Nolan explained that he doesn't believe that the mannequins are a distraction for drivers on the roads who see them.
"I'm not worried that they're a distraction. There are multiple different distractions out there for a driver. If they're able to see our deterrent, and immediately look at their speedometer, it's not a distraction in my book. It's something that's working."
The mannequin cops were deployed by officers twice on Thursday, during heavy traffic times, between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the south side of Tucson.
Officers were on the lookout for other things than just speeding, but Nolan said his real officers normally write an average of 10 speeding tickets per officer during a normal deployment time of this length.
He said the Manne-cops worked to slow people down. Officers only averaged about three speeding tickets per officer during this morning's deployment.
"There is a sense of happiness that we're able to lower the driving behaviors and the speeding. One of the big things for collisions is the speeding aspect, where people aren't paying attention or looking at their phones or just driving fast if they're late for work. It makes us happy that we're out there and it worked. Hopefully it'll work in the future."