Wyoming Highway Patrol gets slick new look

Wyoming slick top

On Feb. 21 Wyoming Highway Patrol introduced a new active pilot program featuring “slick top” cars to increase highway and road safety.  Slick top patrol cars differ from standard patrol cars in the absence of a light bar on the roof.  “These new patrol cars allow police officers to see and observe a whole lot more than officers in normal patrol cars ever will,” Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant David Wagener said.  Wagener said slick top patrol vehicles are less likely to be recognized right away, preventing a distracted driver from correcting their behavior only before driving near or past a police officer.  Colonel Kebin Haller said in a press release that the highway patrol had been discussing a program like this for the past year.  “Slick top enforcement patrol vehicles are not new to law enforcement or other highway patrol agencies throughout the country,” Haller said Slick top patrol cars could provide several benefits for the state of Wyoming’s highways and safety efforts.  “In my personal vehicle I have seen so many distracted drivers, people will pull up to a stoplight and be using their phone,” Wagner said.  “Where as if they see a cop they are more likely to put their phone away and pay attention, but return to whatever they were doing as soon as they go their separate way from the police officer.”  State troopers assigned to slick top patrol vehicles will see and observe a great deal more, and recognize distracted drivers much more easily, Wagener said.  It may also support efforts to stop human and contraband trafficking.  “One example of how this would work is if I was heading east-bound on I-80 to Cheyenne, and a driver behind me was going 100mph in a 75mph zone.” Wagner said.  “Without the identification of a light bar on the roof, the driver is less likely to slow down because of the presence of a state patrolman.”  There are students on UW’s campus that agree and disagree with the move.  UW Freshman Haley Dollerschell, a speech pathology major, said, “I think the new patrol cars are a good idea because in the long run it will hopefully prevent more accidents that are the result of distracted driving.”  UW Freshman Kyle Sager, A secondary education major, disagrees.  “I think it’s probably best to keep them on top of the car since that’s what people are used to and it seems to have no problems as far as I can see, so why would you change it?” Sager said.  Only five new slick tops vehicles will be used across the state of Wyoming until effects of the initiative are determined.  If the results are positive, entire fleets could be considered for upgrades to slick tops.  Each of Wyoming’s five highway patrol districts will receive one slick top vehicle, Wagener said.

3/1/17

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