There’s a real dummy logging hours at the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Department, but he’s been there four years and it turns out he’s pretty good at his job.
Chief Deputy Sheriff Malin Parker said his office has been using a dummy to combat speeders since Sheriff Darren Hooker was elected to office in 2006.
“We got this idea from people out in the community constantly having problems with speeders. Since we only have 14 sworn deputies covering 2,500 square miles, this is one of the means that we use to address the speeding problem since we can’t be everywhere at once,” Parker said.
Parker said residents can call to request the dummy deputy be placed in their area.
“I think people pay a lot of attention to it,” said Bert Wofford, a Portales resident who lives three miles south of the city on State Road 206. Wofford said while the dummy is parked near his house, he has seen un-suspecting motorists flash their headlights at oncoming traffic to warn them of a police officer ahead.
“It doesn’t do much for the locals who pass by it several times a day and know it’s a dummy,” he added.
Parker said when he has the manpower, sometimes a real deputy will come out, “just to keep people guessing,” and take the place of the dummy after it’s been sitting a while.
“You never know,” Parker said, “when there’s going to be someone real sitting in there or not.”
Parker said the dummy is a cost-effective way to combat speeders in the county since the only expense is the cost of fuel to drive the cruiser to its requested location.
But it’s not the overall solution.
“It helps, it certainly helps. It’s not our answer to the speeding issues. Again, we do have actual deputies come out and address the traffic complaints, but we can’t always keep someone out there 24 hours a day like the people want,” Parker said.
Parker said he gets phone calls on a regular basis about the dummy, some positive and some negative.
“People call all the time, and say they want to come to work for the Sheriff’s Office since they see that any dummy can do it,” Parker said with a laugh.
To request the dummy deputy in your area, call the sheriff’s office at 356-4408, or through the department’s Facebook page.