7/23/2007Wisconsin: City Trades Speed Trap for Sound Trap
Milwaukee, Wisconsin sets up sound traps to issue $237 noise tickets.
Police in Milwaukee, Wisconsin are using hand-held Lidar speed guns to ticket people not for driving too fast, but for driving too loudly. As part of an operation entitled "Bass Busters," the city collects $237 each time local police are able to issue a citation for the crime of driving with a stereo playing at a volume audible from fifty feet away.
Police first set the trap using the LTI UltraLyte LR B laser speed gun to measure a landmark, such as a tree, that is fifty or more feet away from the hiding location. If a vehicle passes the landmark while audible music is audible from that distance, police get ready to issue a ticket after double-checking the sound volume with a handheld decibel meter.
OnMilwaukee.com rode along with officers and found that as motorists -- usually young minorities -- were pulled over for playing music, even louder ice cream trucks would roll by without receiving any attention from the police. Likewise, louder Harley-Davidson motorcycles passed by and OnMilwaukee asked whether they would be ticketed.
"We're not targeting them yet, either," Officer Mark Lelinski said. "But, they can get loud, too."