A not-so-subtle billboard in Scott County, Minnesota, is prompting drivers to think twice about speeding.
The billboard, which states, “There is a cop hiding behind this sign,” is the result of an unexpected partnership between the Scott County Sheriff’s Office and local business Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store.
“This road is a fast road,” store owner Robert Wagner told WCCO 4. “When you back away from law enforcement on that road, the speed starts getting faster and faster and faster.”
Wagner’s business is a popular roadside attraction located along Highway 169 in Jordan. Around 20,000 cars pass by the location every day, and many of them are driving above the 65-mph speed limit.
Wagner, who has used the signs outside his business to try to limit speeding since opening the location in 1978, hopes the new billboard will get people to slow down.
“I’m not going to say it’s road rage, but we experience the people really driving fast around us,” he said of the issue.
Wagner said his previous attempts at getting people to observe the speed limit had not been positively received by the community. But opinions changed when he proposed the idea of a police partnership to the local sheriff.
“I think law enforcement sometimes gets put in a box of — it’s simply enforcement or transactional, but really, it is community based. As a county sheriff, I embrace that,” Scott County Sheriff Luke Hennen said.
With help from local law enforcement, Wagner believes the sign will be more effective — and this time, there really is going to be a patrol car behind the sign.
On the back side of the large yellow billboard sits an empty Scott County squad car with the message, “Shhhhhh, I’m waiting for a speeder,” in red uppercase letters.
“[People have said)] ‘Did you just see that? Did you know there’s a squad car out by the big sign?’,” Wagner said. “It gets your attention, you know, ‘Boom, hey what’s that?’”
As of this writing, the department’s Facebook post showing the sign has been shared nearly 3,000 times.
“We were hoping to impact our local community,” a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office stated. “Now we’re seeing across the nation people are sharing the story and talking about it.”
Police say that officers from multiple jurisdictions will patrol the area frequently to enforce speeding to keep the roads safe.
Wagner explained that the sign will remain up for a few more weeks and will likely change when the store opens for the season on May 6.