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Pumpkin Patrol on lookout for Thruway pranksters
The "Pumpkin Patrol" will be out in force on the New York State Thruway this Halloween, making sure pranksters don't create hazards for drivers.
The all-volunteer patrol assists the New York State Police's Troop T by monitoring overpasses for mischief-makers and keeping a lookout for speeders and drunken drivers.
“Dangerous pranks can quickly turn into tragedy, and these patrols help prevent this type of activity,” Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison said. “Safety has always been our top priority. On behalf of the Thruway Authority and our motorists systemwide, I thank Troop T and the volunteers for their dedication to keeping us safe on the Thruway each Halloween.”
This is the 36th year that the Pumpkin Patrol -- amateur radio operators and members of citizen's band radio clubs -- have assisted the state police by reporting unusual activity during the nighttime hours of Oct. 30 and Oct. 31.
The patrol was started in 1976 by Katherine St. Jacques of Montgomery County. St. Jacques was talking to a truck driver on her citizen's band radio when the windshield of his truck was shattered by an object tossed from an overpass.
After that, St. Jacques and two friends decided to look out for pranksters at three overpasses near her Fort Johnson home. The grassroots effort now boasts 300 volunteers from 15 organizations.
In 1990, the state police took over the patrol as part of its statewide crime-prevention effort. Interested volunteers should contact Sgt. Charles Stumpf of Troop T, 518-436-3134.
For more information on the Pumpkin Patrol, please contact Sgt. Charles F. Stumpf, State Police Troop T, at 518-436-3134.