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Dressed as Easter Bunnies, Santas and Dads, Burbank Police Target Distracted Drivers

Photo by Renee Rendler-Kaplan via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Some policemen go undercover to bust drug dealers; others go undercover to infiltrate counterfeiting rings. And still more go undercover on the mean streets of Burbank, walking through intersections and boldly issuing tickets to drivers who flaunt the rules of the road and don't stop for those on foot.

Such a sting was conducted this morning. Beginning at 8:00 a.m., police Det. Paul Orlowski donned a sweatshirt and hat and walked through the crosswalk at the intersection of West Magnolia Boulevard and North Parish Place about 100 times, issuing "dozens of tickets" in the process, according to the Burbank Leader.

Despite the fact that Orlowski could legally have issued tickets to any driver who didn't stop as soon as his foot made contact with the street, he states that he gave drivers about seven seconds to realize that he was crossing.

Even still, he said, it can be a dangerous job. The Leader reports:

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“I’ve had some really close calls in the past and I have to pay attention while I do this,” he said.

Most drivers who got tickets, while upset, were still compliant in signing their citation. One, however, was so unhappy that she nearly spent the night in prison:

The woman, who was pulled over in her Mercedes after allegedly driving through the intersection, was handcuffed at the scene and taken to police headquarters after officers said she refused to sign the citation. Faced spending the night in jail, police said she decided to sign the ticket and the officers returned her to her vehicle.

The Burbank Police Department conducts a number of stings like this each year, and it sounds like in some instances, it might be punishment for officers who have stepped out of line:
Officers have pushed strollers and even dressed up like Santa Claus while crossing the street during past enforcement operations...Glendale police had an officer don an Easter bunny costume last year to get motorists to pay attention.