Are you worried about being pulled over by an unmarked police car? One Corpus Christi City Council member was worried about that this week when they considered an ordinance allowing for the use of unmarked cars to handle traffic cases.
The ordinance is patterned after a strategy used in San Antonio for the past eight years.
"How will your officers be instructed to manage a situation late at night in an unmarked car that might not be as clearly identifiable?" Councilwoman Debbie Lindsey Opel said.
Opel questioned the Corpus Christi police chief before they voted to pass the ordinance.
"He reassured me that his officers are being trained so that if I am a female alone in a car late at night, which I have been, and pulled over, that his officers know the difference between someone who's fleeing the scene and someone who's going to a more secure location," Opel said.
"It's a valid concern," Chief Mike Markle said. "Somebody being pulled over after-hours in a desolate place by somebody that's in an unmarked vehicle -- that's a concern for some drivers, and I get that."
Markle said he will start a public service campaign to educate drivers on how to handle being stopped by an unmarked unit. He said he has good reason to begin a traffic enforcement campaign using both marked and unmarked patrol units.
"We're at 21 fatalities for the year as compared to 11 or 12 last year, this year to date," Markle said. "So that's a big number. That's a big jump. A lot of it has to do with speed."
Markle said even in his own unmarked unit, he has seen drivers doing dangerous things.
"I drive an unmarked car. Folks have no problem flying by me at 100 miles an hour routinely. So as long as it doesn't have a light bar and it's not marked in any way, I think it'll serve it's purpose."
Police say if you are being pulled over by an unmarked unit, you can proceed to a well-lit or populated area before stopping.