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There are certain police operations that call for officers to go undercover, such as infiltrating the Mafia or busting drug dealers, but we would not expect highway patrol to be an undercover sting operation.

The Indiana State Police recently partnered with Anderson-based Carter Express to place a trooper in a truck in order to spot drivers who may be distracted by their cellphones.

Within three hours, the trooper helped issue 43 tickets and 40 warnings to distracted drivers.

We commend our police for their efforts to keep our roadways safe, but we prefer a visible police force.

We are concerned that this practice of police hiding in trucks feeds into a negative perception of police acting in an adversarial role to the general public.

Ideally, citizens should be able to see police as “the good guys,” trusted public servants who are there to keep order and step in when necessary. It is a mistake for police to take on the role of prying eyes intent on assessing fines.

We believe that placing more (highly visible) patrol cars on the road would encourage more drivers to drive safely and obey the law. But, we see no reason to believe that issuing more tickets leads to safer roads.

The Trooper in a Truck program no doubt had honorable intentions, but we question the merit of police officers writing tickets from hidden vantage points.

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