School-zone stakeout

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Sequim Gazette

Clallam County Sheriff’s Deputy Karl Koehler said during this time of year he frequently parks in school zones to check for speeders.


On a recent rainy Thursday afternoon in February he parked behind some bushes, turned on the radio, pulled out his radar gun and watched for oncoming traffic.


Several cars saw him and lowered their speed, which was his goal.


“If you put a cop car there, people will remember and slow down,” he said. “I’m more about education than enforcement.”


But when a driver shows blatant disregard for the law and the safety of others, he doesn’t hesitate to take action.


Moments past 2:30 p.m., just as school was getting out, he clocked a dark Honda going 30 mph in a school zone and passing in what was a no passing zone. He turned on his lights and stopped the car, which was driven by a 17-year-old girl.


Koehler said he appreciates honesty and didn’t buy the girl’s story about faulty brakes and not knowing it was a school zone. He issued her a $189 ticket — a break from the $210 it could’ve been ­­— for driving 10 mph over the speed limit in a school zone, passing in a no passing zone and driving without proof of insurance.


Later in the day he pulled over a car with a taillight out and let the driver, an older woman, know she needed to get it fixed.


“I don’t like being the bad guy,” he said. “A lot of times I just use it (traffic stops) as an opportunity to make contact positive with someone.”

Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequim


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