By Linda Jump
PALM BAY - A police officer in full camouflage gear lay in the brush alongside Minton Road, pointing his radar gun and relaying information on speeding vehicles to fellow officers.
Within two hours on Wednesday, the team issued 40 tickets to drivers traveling at least 15 mph above the 45 mph limit.
Using an officer in SWAT gear to catch speeders was a first for the Palm Bay Police Department.
"It was just something that we tried," said Deputy Chief Doug Muldoon, who added that the number of tickets issued that day was about the same as with a more traditional speed patrol.
Muldoon said the department didn't receive any calls from alarmed residents, who might not have realized the officer was part of a police operation.
The deputy chief said the department likely won't use a camouflaged officer again, but other, even more creative, tactics may be used.
"The next big box you see on the road may have a police officer in it," Muldoon said. "An officer could be in the back of a work truck or in construction gear."
In fact, in February, Brevard County sheriff's deputies dressed as construction workers to nab red-light runners at Wickham and Murrell roads in Viera.
A spokesman for Melbourne police, however, said that department hasn't used disguises or camouflage in traffic enforcement.
"We have plenty of opportunity to use radar without that," Sgt. Sean Riordan said.
"It doesn't really matter if drivers see us. "People are still speeding, and by the time they see us, it's too late."
Palm Bay resident Lynnette Henry has experience with speeders in the city.
"If police have tried everything else and it hasn't worked, then they have to do what they can to slow down speeders," she said.
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