HAWAII POLICE DEPARTMENT
At left is the front of an unmarked Hawaii Police Department police car, and at right is the back of an unmarked one. Police officers from the Traffic Enforcement Unit will be patrolling Big Island roads in unmarked cars following a successful pilot program using one such vehicle. Drivers can verify the legitimacy of an officer by asking for identification or calling 911.
Big Island deploys unmarked patrols
Drivers who speed on the Big Island may have to look twice in their rear-view mirror.
All eight traffic officers will be patrolling in unmarked cars following a successful pilot program using one vehicle, Hawaii County police announced.
Police are putting in new equipment in the subsidized vehicles of the Traffic Enforcement Unit officers.
The unmarked cars will be equipped with LED blue lights above the rearview mirror, in the vehicle's grille and on the rear deck, rather than the standard blue dome light on the roof. The vehicles will also be equipped with strobe lights in the headlights and taillights.
Police officers driving the unmarked cars will be in full uniform.
Members of the public can verify the legitimacy of an officer by asking for identification or calling 911 by cell phone.
Sgt. Christopher Gali said the Police Department received no complaints from the public during the trial period.
"Our pilot program was successful in detecting high-risk drivers, such as impaired drivers, speeders, reckless drivers and drivers who overtook the unmarked police cars in no-passing zones or on the right," Gali said in a news release. "We also found that when the lighting system was activated, the unmarked car was more visible than a subsidized vehicle with only a blue roof-mounted light."
The pilot program using the single unmarked vehicle began in February 2006.