'Officer Bob' slows down Port Townsend speeders

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2002

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. (AP) -- Officer Bob won't give you a ticket, even if you don't slow down. Guaranteed.

Still, sitting in an old, parked patrol car, Officer Bob prompts people to ease up on the gas. But a close look would show that his radar gun is a hair dryer, and Officer Bob is made of chicken wire and papier-mache.

He's the creation of Jean Marzan, a member of a citizens group formed earlier this year to address the problem of cars speeding through Port Townsend neighborhoods.

''We have so many speeders and joy riders,'' she said. ''It presents problems not only for pedestrians, but also creates danger to children playing, and excessive noise.''

A friend painted the face and added some eyeglasses that her dog had chewed. The police outfitted him with a uniform shirt and he started work Aug. 2.

''We've gotten so many calls ... thanking us for having him out there,'' Police Chief Kristen Anderson said. ''It's working well.''

Marzan said a tour bus recently stopped so the tourists could photograph one of Port Townsend's finest.

Officer Bob moves around. He was parked on the Sims Hill on Wednesday. On Thursday, Officer Dan Huynh was stationed there.

''People were slowing down and looking in the car,'' Huynh said. ''They were surprised to see a real person.''

The effort is just one inexpensive step the citizens group hopes will cut down on traffic woes.

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