Police dress as down-and-outs to snare motorists

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Police officers in Kissimmee, Florida, have been dressing as down-and-outs to help catch drivers committing traffic offences.

"Operation Vagrant" is a sting operation involving the Florida Highway Patrol, Kissimmee police and the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.

Undercover officers stand along streets and push shopping trolleys, wear fake teeth and tattered clothing. They also carried small cardboard signs, which read, "Sheriff's traffic sting in progress. Buckle up."

But homeless groups are outraged by the operation where the undercover officers radio ahead to other officers who stop cars and issue tickets.

Robert H. Brown, president and chief executive officer of the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, said the officers were being silly. "It's ironic that they would use a disguise of someone that people think of as visually offensive. I just think it shows that the community's aware of the homeless problem. I wish they would solve it, rather than masquerading," he said.

Osceola sheriff's Chief Jerry Geier said: "Our ultimate goal is to make an impact. The last thing we're trying to do is disrespect anybody."
 
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