The more things change, the more things stay the same. In the 50-some years since Constable George Weber kept a look out for speeders at 44th and France in the 1950s, police work has changed dramatically. Police now have radar, computers in their squad cars and two-way radios to connect them with dispatch. Two things haven't changed: residents complaining about speeders on their street, and speeders attempting not to get caught.
From our collection, "speed traps" now and then.
Constable George Weber
2000s:(above) “I was working on West 77th Street between Highway 100 and Parklawn. Speeds were way up, and I was getting lots of business. All of a sudden, things really cooled down until a lady pulled over to tell me someone had put up that sign for eastbound traffic near Seagate.” ~Officer Tom Mason
1950s: (left) When the Morningside Village Council urged Constable George Weber to hide behind bushes to catch speeders, he obeyed, even though it went against his usual mode of operation. (The Village's lone police officer preferred negotiation over confrontation.) He tagged one speeder, who then warned other drivers on a megaphone: “Speed trap ahead!” A photo of the scene in the Edina-Morningside Courier showed Weber chuckling behind his hand, enjoying the spectacle as much as the observers were.
A Story from Dispatch
“Oh, I had one guy one night, he called complaining about speed traps and stuff like that. That’s when they were building the Crosstown. … The squads used to sit in there and you couldn’t see ‘em because of the barricades, and they’d catch all the traffic going southbound on 100. So this guy calls, and he was really complaining that he’d been caught and it’s a speed trap and they got to have lighted squads, and all this kind of junk. Yakety, yak, yak, yakkin’. …And when I was finally able to get a word in edgewise, I says, “It’s my opinion that the only time you abide by the speed limit is when you see a squad car.” ~ from an oral history with Al Hines, dispatcher 1960s to 1980s
I should have said "three things haven't changed." Edina Police still have a sense of humor.
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