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|ST. PETERSBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT
St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg Police Department (SPPD) developed a program, Wheres Jockers? It is based on the childrens book, Wheres Waldo? The childrens book has several pages with thousands of faces and the children are supposed to find Waldo. Patrol Officer Mike Jockers developed and initiated the program, so they called the program, Wheres Jockers? St. Petersburg was having high incidences of drivers running red lights, crashes with fatalities, and many incidences of aggressive driving. Marked patrol vehicles were not effective in stopping the aggressive driving behavior. He developed an innovative approach to address these issues. Officer Jockers, equipped with a radar gun and hand-held radio, would sit in all types of non-traditional city vehicles to observe traffic and call ahead to marked patrol vehicles to take enforcement action. Officer Jockers has: 1) used lawn mowers; 2) sat on a bus bench; and, 3) sat in road construction vehicles.
Initially, the SPPD did not advise the media of the special enforcement efforts. Soon the media heard of the special enforcement details and requested information. The media was then contacted before events to advise and educate the public of the hazards of aggressive driving. Several news channels would go on location and do live broadcasts during the morning news casts.
The SPPD is expanding its aggressive driving enforcement effort into a program called 3-Es, Enforcement, Education and Engineering. They want to use a broad-based effort to educate the public, to look at roadway design and signage as possible problems, and couple this with their enforcement efforts.
The SPPD uses non-traditional vehicles such as lawn mowers, buckets from electric trucks, construction trucks, etc. By using the non-traditional vehicles, the public can not be sure where the law enforcement officers are found. The public does not know if the police department is doing a special Wheres Jockers? enforcement effort or if the officers are doing their regular job.
The media in the St. Petersburg area has given extensive coverage to the Wheres Jockers? program. By working with the media, the SPPD has taken the aggressive driving issue to far more people than just those being stopped.
The SPPD uses hand-held radios and portable radar units that allow their officers greater mobility to observe traffic.
Media coverage was extensive. Television cameras were often on location with Officer Jockers. They would do interviews of people while they were stopped, as a result of the Wheres Jockers? strategy. Many drivers would admit hearing the story on the morning news. Over time, largely because of the media, drivers have become aware of the enforcement efforts of the SPPD.
Before the program began, the SPPD met with the city prosecutors and judges to make them aware of the enforcement strategy and the use of the non-traditional vehicles. It was helpful when the judicial system understood these issues before defendants came to court. They also became aware of how large the St. Petersburg aggressive driving problem was when a large number of cases began to come to the court.