Officer dresses as panhandler to nab distracted drivers

TOPSHAM, Maine (AP) — A Maine police officer says he dressed as a panhandler to try and catch distracted drivers.

Deputy Zach Kinderlan with the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department says he wore street clothes and held a cardboard sign while standing in a median in Topsham on Tuesday.

Instead of asking for money, his sign read “I’m a deputy. If you’re texting and driving you are about to get a ticket.”

Kinderlan says a few people shook their heads no when he approached their windows, until he pointed to the badge on his hip.

It’s unclear if he wrote any tickets.

Police say Kinderlan’s work is part of a statewide effort to reduce distracted driving. The effort is being funded by the state Bureau of Highway Safety.

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