Hillsboro police ticket 143 drivers in unique undercover traffic stings

Photo provided by Hillsboro police.

HILLSBORO, OR (KPTV) - The Hillsboro Police Department is using a unique tactic to make streets safer for drivers and pedestrians.

The department recently launched a campaign funded by a $15,000 grant from Oregon Impact and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The grant has allowed HPD to perform four undercover traffic sting operations, which it’s been documenting on social media to raise awareness.

Their message, according to Traffic Sergeant Jincy Pace, who’s in charge of the operation, is simple: “Hang up the phone and drive.”

During each operation, Pace places spotters – officers dressed in plain clothes holding cardboard signs warning against distracted driving – at Hillsboro intersections to observe drivers.

“When we first put our spotters out, some people saw them and thought it was strange some random person was standing on the corner not doing anything. So, they would actually stop whatever behaviors they were doing,” Pace said. “The second I handed my officers a sign people suddenly ignored them.”

Written on each cardboard sign is this message to distracted drivers: “Distracted driving killed 3,450 people.”

Pace says it’s a 2017 federal statistic given to police. 

Ironically, Pace says, many of the drivers fail to notice the message because they’re looking down at their phones. When that happens, the spotter radios it in to other officers, posted down the road, who then pull the driver over.

“We see the most violations occurring at the intersections and stop lights because people think, well, I’m not driving. So, I don’t need to be paying attention,” Pace said.

According to Pace, so far, 143 people, have received traffic tickets during the four operations HPD has conducted.

“It’s 265 dollars for your first one [ticket],” Pace said.

Pace says a second ticket can cost $480 dollars, and if the driver gets three on their record dating back to July of 2018, they can be charged with a misdemeanor and face jail time.

Pace is hoping these stings teach those behind the wheel that sending an email, text or making a phone call can wait.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(7) comments

Spinmaster1

The police spend more time raising money for their causes but yet won't protect and show their presence for the people in the area from robbery,vandalism, assaults, and stolen property.... This is what the people pay taxes for, not to be harassed daily by these money gouging projects and stings.... Fine, pull people over if you are on duty if you see them on the phone, but they need to get their priorities straight for the people who pay taxes that actually keep them employed...


MarvinC

Assuming all 143 are first time offenders and pay their fines, Hillsboro has earned $37,895 from this sting operation so far. Isn't this traffic enforcement within the scope of Hillsboro law enforcement? Will Hillsboro reimburse ODOT the $15,000? Unless the sting operation took place on State Highway 8 how could ODOT justify the expense?



I just looked at the photo of the undercover officer holding the sign. It looks like he is "causing" a distraction.


Charlatan

“When we first put our spotters out, some people saw them and thought it was strange some random person was standing on the corner not doing anything. So, they would actually stop whatever behaviors they were doing,” Pace said. “The second I handed my officers a sign people suddenly ignored them.”







So, in other words, it's not about saving lives it's about revenue generation through extortion. Land of the free?


Manazuma

I love this can I please get a video of each driver when the officer makes contact. Priceless! BTW watched a young girl come within a few inches of getting hit by a car when crossing the street looking down at her phone.


William R

about 1/4 of the cars I see driving by when I am outside smoking marrawanna has a driver staring at their phone,, the rate is worse for dog walkers takin' their phone for a walk bringing the, not their dog along... Why yes today has been limited to Wedding Cake, 22.7%. Happy Monday!


ExercisingMyRights

If that’s the way you spell “marrawanna” (sic), I think you need to cut back on the marijuana!


Delta Bravo

So, the police work is rather unique and I totally agree there is a problem, but why did they need a $15k "grant" to do this? Should not this type of enforcement fall under the regular police budget or did DOT just happen to have $15k they needed to spend?


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