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6/25/2007
Maryland County Bans Deadly Step Out Speed Traps
Anne Arundel County, Maryland bans police from standing in the middle of high-speed roadways to conduct speed traps.

Scott Wheeler
Anne Arundel County, Maryland on Friday imposed a temporary ban on speed traps that force police to stand in front of speeding cars. The move came in response to the death of Howard County Officer Scott Wheeler, 31, who had been struck by a Nissan Sentra as he stood in the middle of the traffic lane on Route 32 at 2pm on June 16.

"Stepping into traffic puts both the officer and motorist at risk," said Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold. "Police Chief [James] Teare and I agree that the men and women hired to safeguard our citizens must be allowed the same consideration to ensure the protection of everyone involved."

Federal gas tax money had been used to pay Wheeler and a team of officers a 50 percent hourly overtime bonus to issue speeding tickets on the road. One officer would operate a speed measuring gun to identify possible speeding vehicles while Wheeler stood in the middle of the road to flag down motorists and point them to the side of the road.

The county will review the public safety effects of its speed traps and decide next month whether to discontinue permanently the practice of "stepping out" in the middle of the road. No other Maryland jurisdiction has announced a review of its policies.



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