Police unveil Constable Scarecrow to reduce speeding
Constable Luc Mongeon's mirror image reported for duty in Orléans Friday morning in the form of a life-size metal cut-out named Constable Scarecrow.
The 18-year veteran of the Ottawa Police Service said speeding across the city has worsened and enforcement in Orléans will be increased. Constable Scarecrow was unveiled in a school zone along Portobello Blvd. near Charest Way; putting speeders on notice.
“What's scary about it is when I point a device at a car; some people get scared of these kinds of things,” said Mongeon. “They’re late to go to work in the morning, reluctant to follow the speed limit or just out for a joy ride in the car and oblivious of the law.”
Mongeon said he pulls over 10 to 15 drivers in the school zone every day; at 7 a.m. Friday, he caught one driver going 107 km/h in a 50 km/h zone near St. Theresa Catholic School.
“It terrifies me. If I had not been there, that car might've blown the stop sign struck a parent, struck a child and killed somebody,” said Mongeon.
Ottawa councillor Stephen Blais said this program has been in the works for several months and will soon include photo radar technology to help police enforcement in trouble areas.
“That's very scary as someone with a child who goes to an elementary school we want to ensure it's safe where our kids are walking to school; where they're playing,” said Blais. ““The 10 seconds you're going to save is not worth the life you're going to take.”
Students walking home and to school daily said the chronic speeders aren’t getting the message.
“Every day I walk home I see a lot of speeders, going pretty fast;” said grade 8 student Ty Girard.
Some people need to be more careful,” said Girard’s friend Shay Thibert. “Somebody could get really badly hurt.”
The scarecrow cutouts will be popping up across the city; police hope to reduce speeding by 20%.
Rob Wilkinson of Safer Roads Ottawa has advocated for lower speed limits in community safety zones; coupled with increased enforcement, to deal with chronic speeders.
“We could reduce speed limits; it's really about people choosing to comply,” said Wilkinson.
Mongeon’s message for drivers is simple, “Please slow down, be aware of the community, be aware of your surroundings; it could be your kid, your family that's on the roadway at that time.”