ALBANY, N.Y. – New York State Police and citizen volunteers will conduct the 37th annual "Pumpkin Patrol" Wednesday and Thursday aimed at preventing Halloween pranks and protecting motorists along the Thruway.
"These patrols are essential in preventing ‘pranks' that can quickly turn tragic," Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison said. "Safety is the number one priority of the Thruway Authority."
Patrols will consist of Troop T Troopers, who patrol the Thruway exclusively, as well as local citizen band radio clubs and amateur radio operators.
More than 300 volunteers, 15 organizations and 19 counties have volunteered to participate in this year's effort. Volunteers will monitor Thruway overpasses and report any unusual activity to State Police or local law enforcement.
It's Tom With's first time doing the pumpkin patrol.
"Kind of honing my skills as to working with people in an organized effort to protect the people out there with the state police," he says.
"Just being out here, somebody sees you sitting on bridge, it's a deterrent for somebody actually trying to do some mischievous," says fellow patroller Mike Shanahan.
Halloween is Thursday, October 31st, but the day before Halloween is known as mischief night. Pranksters will take to the overpasses of highways and drop pumpkins or other objects off the overpass on to unsuspecting cars below. Police will be actively looking for these types of activities during their patrols.
Troopers from Troop T will also keep watch for other violations including speeding, driving while intoxicated and operating mobile electronic devices while driving.
The Pumpkin Patrol was initiated as a volunteer effort in 1976 by Katherine St. Jacques of Montgomery County. The State Police assumed control of the Pumpkin Patrol in 1990 as part of the State Police crime prevention effort.