Dummies slow speeders in Covington - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Justin Hanson

Dummies slow speeders in Covington

COVINGTON, TN (WMC-TV) - Take a close look the next time you see a officer running radar inside Covington's city limits.  That might not be an officer of the law behind the wheel.

"The only way to be proactive is to put our mannequins out there to try to slow people down," says Police Chief Bennie Carver.

That's right...mannequins.  Carver's department bought a pair of fake police officers last year at a flea market for about $10.  Their mission: cut down on speeding and accidents in Covington.

So far, their mission has been a success.

"We did reduce the accidents in Covington by 71 less than we had in 2006, so to me, it's gotta be working," Carver said, adding that officers wrote 85 less tickets in 2007.

It's the second time Covington has used a dummy to slow speeders.  A similar experiment in the early eighties was also successful.

Employees at a bank in Covington, near to where one of the mannequins sit, said they get mixed reactions about the dummy cops.  Some motorists even worry about the way the "officer" spends hours each day inside his hot police car.

"Some customers ask if we can give him food or water," bank employee Danna Jenkins said.

"People have been up to the cars believing they were real, and asked them for information," Carver added.

Even after a year, Covington residents still find themselves slowing down, even when they know there's a dummy inside the police car they're approaching.

"I know myself.  I get tickets a lot, so I need some help with that," Jenkins said.

For Chief Carver, it's all a matter of what works for his department.

"Anything that makes people slow down and prevent accidents, or just keep people safe," he said.  "I love them.  They never complain about anything!"

Click here to send an email to Justin Hanson.

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