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N.Y. Governor Abolishes Unmarked Police Cars for Routine Traffic Stops

April 18, 1996 GMT

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Spurred by fears of so-called blue-light bandits, Gov. George Pataki signed an executive order Wednesday ending the use of unmarked state police cruisers for routine traffic stops.

``New Yorkers, especially women, should be free to drive our highways with a sense of safety and security,″ the governor said.

Law enforcement officials have given the name ``blue light″ to attacks in which thieves and rapists fool motorists into pulling over by using lights like those in unmarked police cars.

``Blue light″ attacks have been reported in seven states in the last year.

Pataki said his order was prompted by the widely publicized case of a woman initially refusing to pull over for an unmarked police car in South Carolina. She said it was out of fear he was a ``blue light″ attacker. When she stopped, the trooper pulled his gun and dragged her from the car, shouting obscenities. A tape from a surveillance camera in his cruiser was aired nationally and the officer resigned.

Advocates for crime victims and women applauded the governor’s order, which takes effect May 1.

``Women in our society live in far of being accosted by strange men, and it certainly doesn’t create a safe situation for women if they are uncertain about who is trying to pull them over,″ said Maud Easter, executive director of the state Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Defenders of unmarked cars say motorists are less likely to speed if they can’t easily identify police vehicles.