I first observed two motorcycle officers returning to the neighborhood where they were performing seat belt stings several months ago. Upon further investigation, I came upon the two officers waiting southbound on Newport Ave. at the 4th St intersection signaling to turn left. The two officers sat there for several minutes with their turn signals on. Eventually one officer took off after a car to the east, but the other just sat there with his signal on. I saw him speak into his headset microphone and turn off his (left) turn signal and swerve to the west instead. I am not sure he ever noticed the person waiting at the corner to cross, who did not want to cross in front of an officer with their turn signal on. I also happened to observe an empty patrol car nearby, which made me cautious of yet another officer possibly being nearby. I did not take long for him to reveal himself.
The light turned green and I crossed, so I found a good spot and I observed him some more. It was only a matter of minutes when I saw him pull open his shirt at the neck, turn his head sideways and speak into a radio hidden just there. Less than twenty seconds later one of the motorcycle officers came around the corner and pulled over a BMW, that just happened to be sitting across from the man on the corner only moments before, not wearing his seat belt.
I should note too, that on a couple of occasions the officers on the motorcycles would be caught at the red light with their target getting away. During those instances, the officers would have to use their sirens and lights to cross through the red light. Most people saw this and stopped well enough, but on one instance, the officer waited until the last moment to set off his lights, and a woman driving up Redondo had to slam on her breaks to avoid creating an accident. I found myself wondering how much seat belt tickets were worth to the city to warrant that urgency, or lack of safety for that matter.
For the Long Beach Police Department, the war on traffic violations has taken an interesting turn indeed.