By Bryce Martin
The community of Amidon took a unique approach 25 years ago to slow speeding vehicles through the city. Since then, it has become a folksy trademark for the small city.
Published December 6, 2013
During the KX News 6 p.m. broadcast Nov. 30, co-anchored by Will Ferrell in character as his “Anchorman” alter ego Ron Burgundy, a segment shined a spotlight on Amidon’s well-known police car. The car permanently is parked alongside Highway 85 as it winds down to 25 miles per hour through Amidon’s central residential area. It’s no ordinary police car, however, as it’s outfitted with a life-like dummy that is meant to deter speeding through the small community.
“It’s not too often you can call a sheriff’s deputy a dummy and get away with it, even though I have,” Ferrell said leading into the segment. “But in rural Slope County, N.D., there’s an exception.”
City of Amidon Mayor Jerry Erickson said he didn’t see the broadcast, but heard that Ferrell spoke about Amidon’s police car ruse.
“I thought it was pretty good,” Erickson said Tuesday. “Seems like Amidon’s getting a lot of coverage lately.”
The car, a Ford Crown Victoria, has been replaced a few times and shuffled around town for the last 25 years.
When the police car was located near Amidon’s former fire hall, Erickson first observed its effectiveness.
“We watched this trucker, he pulled over to the curb and got out and he had a map in his hand. We could see him unfolding his map and walking towards the police car and then he saw what the deal was, that it was a dummy in there,” he said. “He looked around to see if anybody saw him. He was kind of embarrassed that he got taken.”
Erickson said a Slope County Sheriff originally had the idea that such an attraction would help to slow down speeding traffic.
“You can see the other end of town when you drive in and you say why should I slow down for this? And they weren’t,” Erickson said. “It worked at least once — they would see that and their bumpers would come down closer to the road and drive a little slower.”
While it may seem effective only once, for those used to a commute through Amidon, it still does its job to slow drivers that are unaware of its presence.
“Now, with the amount of traffic we have, maybe even an adult could get hit,” Erickson said. “There’s an awful lot of rigs going through.”
The traffic increase through Amidon has been huge, Erickson said.
Following the story segment, co-anchor Amber Schatz turned to ask Ferrell what he thought of the unique vehicle, to which he responded he had no idea and added a laugh.