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8/31/2006
Florida: Homeless Speed Trap Is Back
Ocala, Florida brings back the homeless cop speed trap.

Generic panhandler photoPolice in Ocala, Florida have brought back the practice of dressing up like the homeless in order to generate significant traffic ticket revenue. Sergeant Billy Woods, a white officer with a mustache, sat behind a cardboard sign in shabby clothes while wearing a Rastafarian cap and fake dreadlocks. The sign hid his radar gun and a radio used to summon a gaggle of chase officers hidden down the road at South Pine and Southeast 17th Street.

A sting on Tuesday at an intersection where the speed limit had been temporarily lowered to 25 MPH resulted in 58 motorists being cited for at least one infraction, generally speeding. A few received an additional ticket for neglecting to wear a seatbelt. Ocala police are not concerned that their actions may be seen as insensitive to the plight of the less fortunate.

"If we can think of it, we'll do it," Sergeant Lou Biondi told the Ocala Star-Banner.

Police in other Florida cities such as Palm Beach have used the same tactics, even going as far as adopting military camouflage to hide their actions from the motoring public.

Source: Hobo cop (Ocala Star-Banner (FL), 8/31/2006)



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