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Police Officer Disguises As Construction Worker To Scout I-74 Speeders

Benjamin Payne
Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Ron Salier uses a lidar detector to gauge the speed of vehicles on Interstate 74 in Moline, between Avenue of the Cities and John Deere Road.

If you were driving through east-bound Interstate 74 in Moline on Monday morning between Avenue of the Cities and John Deere Road, you probably didn't notice Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Ron Salier pointing a radar gun at your car.

He was wearing a hardhat and yellow and orange vest, sitting in a construction truck.

In just the first thirty minutes of his reconnaisance in disguise, Salier got quite the catch.

"I think I've got nine or ten so far who were well over that speed limit," said Salier, who would relay suspected speeding vehicles to fellow Illinois State Police officers on patrol to issue tickets.

The Illinois State Police deployed this clandestine tactic after the agency received a complaint from bridge contractor Walsh Construction that many motorists were flouting the construction zone speed limit of 55 miles per hour.

Trooper Jason Wilson says vehicles are far less likely to spin out of control when motorists follow this reduced speed limit.

"You have men and women out here that are trying to make this road better for you," said Wilson. "We need to protect them. We all do. We need to make sure they get home to their families. They're doing this job not out of the goodness of their heart, but because they need to try to support their families. It's the same thing as what we're all doing. And all they want to do is just be able to go home."

The construction zone speed limit applies even when there are no crews present.

Wilson says speeding citations in construction zones carry a mandatory court appearance for the defendant, and impose a fine of at least $375, which is more than fines for non-construction zone speeding violations.