06/26/2007

Md. troopers will no longer step out of cars to halt speeders

The Associated Press
Officer down: Scott Wheeler

PIKESVILLE, Md. — State troopers will no longer step out of their patrol cars to wave speeding drivers over to the side of interstate highways, Maryland State Police announced today.

The agency followed the lead of police departments in two counties in suspending the practice known as "stepping out" after the death of a Howard County officer. Cpl. Scott Wheeler died June 18 of injuries sustained when he was hit by a car while working a traffic patrol on Md. 32 near Savage.

The move by state police represents a change of position since last week, said Greg Shipley, a spokesman for the agency. New superintendent Terrence B. Sheridan made the decision late Friday after the funeral for Wheeler, 31.

"Speed enforcement will continue. We will stop people (using) police vehicles," Shipley said.

In addition to highways, troopers temporarily won't walk onto lower-speed roadways, pending the results of a review, he said.

Police in Howard and Anne Arundel counties have also ordered reviews of their speed-enforcement strategies and have suspended "stepping out" until those reviews are completed.

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