Cardboard Cop Patrolling Aiken, SC Streets - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/13/07 Aiken, SC

Cardboard Cop Patrolling Aiken, SC Streets

In Aiken, there's a new kind of cop in town. He's got the look and the tool to clock you, but on closer inspection his threatening stance falls flat.

"At first I thought it was a person!" says driver Lucille Wright. Officer Chris Carter is - he's just made out of cardboard. And it's obvious Aiken's newest cop is cut out for the job.

Lt. David Turno of the Department of Public Safety says, "It's interesting and funny, but it's serious. We didn't do it to be funny. We did it to try to slow people down."

In a county where officials say speed has been a tragic factor, it's only September and there have been 30 traffic fatalities so far this year, the same number of people who died on roads during all of 2006.

Lt. Turno says, "We're going to pass the number we had last year. We've got to take these approaches."

It's an innovative way that seems to be working on Whiskey Road. Wright's in favor of it, "If it will help, I would think they should put more of them up."

More cutouts are already in the making. At least four will pop up at major trouble spots soon. Like the original - they'll be replicas of Aiken officers.

Although the real Chris Carter is from South Carolina, the idea for this Chris Carter was born back in America's heartland, in Ohio, at the home of a man who makes signs.

"One of our supervisors saw it on the internet," says Lt. Turno. The supervisor read the story of a man who put life-size cutouts of his kids in his yard to promote business - images so believable drivers slowed down.

So far, there's a similar outcome in Aiken. Drivers who are breaking the law are braking for cardboard - which in many cases could be a smart move. Lt. Turno says, "One day, it's going to be the real officer."

Reported by Angie Goff

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