One of the Surrey RCMP’s “cut-out” Mounties that will be “deployed” all over the city in an effort to combat dangerous driving. The model for the cut-outs was none other than Constable Mike Della-Paolera, who is known on Twitter as “1 Tall Cop” and is the tallest Mountie on the force. (Photo: Amy Reid).

Surrey RCMP deploy ‘Mountie Cut-Outs’ to deter dangerous driving

Police, ICBC and the City of Surrey partner in ‘Operation Double Take’

It’s hard to miss an almost seven-foot-tall Mountie sporting a high-visibility vest pointing a radar gun at you.

That’s what the Surrey RCMP are counting on in their latest initiative that involves the “deployment” of their newest “cut-out” recruits to target dangerous driving on city streets. These almost life-size “Mountie Cut-Outs” will be set up at intersections and roadways around the city that have been identified as high-risk for collisions and unsafe driving behaviours.

It’s been dubbed “Operation Double Take” and the project’s goal is to “maintain an overt presence” and “remind drivers to follow the rules of the road.” To start, two cut-out cops have been made as well as a third of a Surrey RCMP cruiser, all of which police say will be visible in the dark.

The cut-outs will be moved around the city – but won’t be telling the public where they’ll be.

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“When people break the speed limit it’s a selfish decision,” said Surrey RCMP Constable Richard Wright. “They are deciding that the rules that are put in place to make sure the road is safe, they’re deciding to flout that. It’s a conscious choice on their part. We want to educate drivers that they need to be wary, especially at times when it’s wet, icy and dark on our roads.”

Wright said “drivers need to adapt their driving behaviour to make sure they’re ready for those conditions, to give themselves extra time.”

The cut-outs actually first hit the streets last Friday. “Even on those few deployments that we’ve had so far, we’ve seen a marked decrease in the unsafe driving behaviours and the speed of the vehicles travelling through the zones where the cut outs are present. We’re hoping that that continues,” Wright said, noting police are monitoring data through speed recording devices near the cut-outs to gauge their impact.

“We’re hoping it shows there’s a marked decrease in speed, making our roads safer for everyone. From there, we’ll be developing this program and bringing it forward to become bigger and better as we go on,” he added.

Officers or auxiliaries will be accompanying the cut-outs to ensure they aren’t vandalized or stolen, police say.

The model for the cardboard Mountie is none other than Surrey’s tallest cop on the force – perhaps even in the country.

Constable Mike Della-Paolera is known on Twitter as “1 Tall Cop.”

How does the remarkably tall Mountie feel about having a replica of him placed throughout the city?

“Well, I grew up in Surrey, I graduated from high school and elementary schools in Surrey and I’m also a school resource officer so I know how sometimes parents aren’t driving safely around the schools, so to be a part of this, to help educate parents, slow them down, absolutely why not?” he replied.

READ MORE: Surrey aims to reduce deaths, injuries on roads by 15% in next five years

The project is a partnership between police, ICBC and the City of Surrey’s Vision Zero strategy, which aims to reduce deaths on roads by 15 per cent in the next five years.

Shabnem Afzal, Vision Zero Surrey lead, said in this city 18 per cent of serious collisions involve speed.

“We see an increase in pedestrian related conditions this time of year,” Afzal noted. “When it gets darker, people are not necessarily very visible and the weather is not so good. This is a good time to launch a project like this just because we know there’s a pattern across the year that this is a very, very dangerous time on the roads.”

Afzal said “high-risk driving behaviours such as speeding, distracted driving and impaired driving contribute to approximately two-thirds of serious and fatal collisions.”

“Through our ongoing collaborative efforts as Vision Zero Surrey partners, we are committed to reducing this number and increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for all road users,” she said.

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