11/09/2007

"Cardboard officer" creatively curbs Colo. speeders

Sherrie Peif
The Greeley Tribune

WINDSOR, Colo. — The person who said someone can't be in more than one spot at once hasn't met Windsor Police officer Byron Kastilahn.

Lately, Kastilahn has been spotted at multiple places across Windsor -- and in a most unusual way.

As drivers cruised up Main Street last week on their lunch break, they may have noticed Kastilahn standing out in front of Windsor High School with a radar speed gun pointed directly at the cars going west.

Drivers going faster than the posted 30-mph limit, or failing to stop for high school students crossing the street, have been a problem for many years, but the Windsor Police Department thinks it may have finally found a way to help educate those drivers responsible for not paying attention.

Meet Kastilahn, he is the first officer to officially become a cardboard cutout.

The true-to-life image of Kastilahn that was seen along Main Street last week is actually a cardboard image created by Digi-Pix Sign Center, 9263 Eastman Park Drive, to remind drivers to slow down.

Windsor Police Chief John Michaels said he saw a story on a similar situation in a town on the East Coast and thought it sounded like something Windsor should look into.

"They had put it in several different school zones, and I thought, 'What a great idea,' " he said. "I've seen it in a couple of magazines since, so it's catching on pretty quick because of digital technology."

The police department has looked into the idea for a couple months and finally got it completed a few weeks ago. Last week was the first time they put it out. Kastilahn, who is a police officer in Windsor, was chosen for the sign because he is the current liaison for Windsor High School.

"We've put it out in a couple of different spots already," Michaels said. "It's just one more thing people have to watch for. It is a reminder to drivers that this is a crosswalk or whatever when you see this. It's just a reminder they should be watching their speed all the time."

But don't think because it's cardboard, a ticket can't be written. There is usually a uniformed officer nearby who is watching.

Michaels said the department plans to use the image, which cost the department $200, in other locations around town, such as cone zones where people are working on the street.

"The city crew guys, the CDOT guys, how many CDOT workers have been killed in the last two years because people won't slow down? What a disaster," he said. "It's educational."

Copyright 2007 The Greeley Tribune

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