Fact of the Day
Drivers in places including but not limited to British Colombia, England, and a few of the United States may be in for a quasi-increase in their local police presence. While driving on high-speed roadways, most drivers respond to anything remotely resembling a police cruiser and/or officer by involuntarily decelerating. With this in mind, many precincts around the world have decided to get cardboard cutout copies of themselves and their cars made for strategic placement on troublesome roads. Granted, instituting this two-dimentional presence has been quite effective, but is it really an ethical solution?
When officers from Vancouver, Canada were asked if there were other places where this practice was accepted, they said that in Europe they knew of cardboard cameras at intersections (The Vancouver Sun). Cardboard cameras are a lot less serious then what can be considered a false impersonation of a police officer to some. To add insult to injury, the cardboard coppers installed in Vancouver are actually holding a gun and pointing it at motorists. In fairness, its a radar gun to clock speed. But, if the intent is for people to be psychologically tricked into believing a police officer is actually standing there, what's stopping them from misinterpreting the image as an attack. It is foreseeable that motorists may involuntarily react to a gun pointed at their windshield and possibly cause unspeakable carnage on the road as a result.
As if the radar gun wasn't bad enough, an Ohio man has decided to install cardboard cutouts of children purposefully placed uncomfortably close to the street (Tree Hugger). His intent was to slow cars down in front of his house, but now he is in the business of selling cardboard children to law enforcement. The trickery has crossed the line. Reports from the home owner include motorists talking to the pictures and some yelling at their "parents" for allowing them to play in such a dangerous place. But underneath it all, traffic has slowed in front of the house.
Until now, the trickery has been nothing more than an average person could get over after finding out the truth. With that said, my main concern is the false hope inspired by the sight of a cruiser and/or officer. Say, for instance, someone was after me and trying to kill me. In my running panic I spot what could only be a police cruiser parked by the road's edge. Thinking I'm finally safe I approach pleading my case and asking for help. When I reach the car, I realize it's nothing more than cardboard. At this point I'll probably be totally dead, not to mention horrified that I've been tricked by the police themselves. After a situation like this, the idea of cardboard checkpoints doesn't sound quite as good.
"Cardboard Cops to Crack Crime." BBC NEWS | News Front Page. 13 Aug. 2008 .
"Cardboard Kids Slow Down Drivers : TreeHugger." TreeHugger. 13 Aug. 2008 .
"Story | The Vancouver Sun." canada.com. 13 Aug. 2008 .
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