If you see this navy blue Chevrolet Impala in your rear view mirror, slow down! Odds are, it’s too late.
This is the new unmarked police cruiser for Virginia State Trooper Tony Mackian, a local officer of Serbian ancestry derisively called “the mad Russian” by some who have fallen victim to his ticket book. Calling a Serb a Russian is the ultimate insult. It’s even worse than calling a Floyd County baptist a Lutheran.
Mackian brags to fellow officers that he is writing 20-25 tickets a day since getting the new stealth patrol car, which features well-hidden blue lights, a normal looking license plate and low profile antennas for its radio and data system.
Not that the enthusiastic officer needs such tools to write tickets. Even with his previous fully-marked Ford Crown Victoria, the trooper wrote more traffic tickets than all other Floyd County officers combined — including state and Floyd County sheriff’s deputies. An upcoming session of General District Court in Floyd County features more than 100 cases generated by Mackian alone.
“Tony needs his own court day,” jokes one deputy.
Mackian, who served as an EMS with the Floyd County Rescue Squad before attending the State Police Academy and donning the blue and gray of the traffic force, shows little mercy on the road and offers few — if any — breaks to those who fall into his sights. Christiansburg attorney Fred Kellerman, nailed by Mackian for speeding after heading home from court one day, calls Mackian “the State Police’s foreign exchange student.”
While some in the law enforcement profession shake their heads at Mackian’s prolific ticket-writing, his actions bring smiles from his superiors at the State Police headquarters in Salem, where troopers are often reminded that a big part of their job is to produce revenue while patrolling the roads. That emphasis on revenue production through tickets led one popular area state trooper to put in his retirement papers, telling us that he always throught it was his job to help people and enforce the law, not make money for the Commonwealth.
Floyd County has long had its share of ticket-happy troopers, from the days when Roger Abshire packed the court with recepients of his summonses to Woody McClanahan, currently serving in Kuwait with the Coast Guard reserve, but veteran officers say Mackian is in a class by himself.
“Tony would write up his mother for doing three over,” jokes one. “He’s tough.”
As for Mackian, he’s not talking. He lets his ticket book speak for him.
You have been warned. Let’s be careful out there.
(Updated on July 5, 2012 to correct Mackian’s role with the Floyd County Rescue Squad.)