Barreling down Garfield Avenue on the home stretch to work, you’ve just made three green lights when out of the corner of your eye you see two people step into the crosswalk. You hit the brakes for a moment, then realize you can slip by before they make it to your lane.
If that was you Tuesday morning, chances are that moments later you were parked in front of a fast-food restaurant swearing as you were handed a $103 ticket.
The pedestrians trying to cross the street in Monterey Park were actually plain-clothes reserve officers for the Police Department. While they stepped hesitatingly into traffic, motorcycle officers stood by, going after anyone who didn’t stop for them.
The officers say they arrested 134 drivers in a collaborative effort by the Alhambra, San Gabriel and Monterey Park police departments.
“I think it was a pretty cheap shot,” said Mike Foulker, who was arrested while hauling a load of ginseng. “He just stepped off the opposite curb as we were coming into the crosswalk.”
One driver failed to stop even as the decoys were closely followed by a television news crew. An officer quickly arrested the driver.
The pedestrians crossed about one out of four or five times with all drivers stopping.
Although some motorists said the crackdown was entrapment, some residents said it was sorely needed in a place where it is dangerous to set foot on the street.
“I have two teenage kids and they’ve almost been hit out here,” said John Medendorp, who spent his morning watching the arrests.