Meet the man in "The Mustang" -- LMPD's most feared traffic officer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- He might be the most feared officer on the Louisville Metro Police Department -- just a glimpse of his car strikes fear in the hearts of motorists.

In some circles, he's known simply as "The Mustang."  And even if you don't know him, you at least know his car.

You see the car -- and hit the brakes -- but by then, it's too late he's gotcha!  You can hear his intentions while tracking one driver recently: "She's going about 77 in a 55, so going to write 22 miles over the posted speed limit."

Officer Clarence Beauford is the man behind the wheel of the high-powered Mustang GT often seen lying in wait or patrolling the Watterson Expressway and Interstate 71.

"One of my main functions is traffic enforcement," he says, "so I'm always out on the interstate and pretty visible."  And pretty busy -- handing out more than a dozen tickets a day.  "Anywhere from you know 15 to 20, 25 stops per day," he says.

Beauford has been on the police force for 24 years, and in that time has written more than 150,000 speeding tickets, generating millions of dollars for the city. In fact, if you lined up all the tickets he's written, you'd have a paper trail that stretches from downtown Louisville to Oldham County and back.  And he's heard all the excuses: "People say, well, I'm trying to get to work, or I'm late for school....Most generally you hear that -- they'll say, well, I'm just driving with the flow of traffic, or -- or you got the wrong car."

He was asked, "Have you ever let anyone go -- or do you ever let anyone go?" He replied, "Yeah, I write my share of warning tickets."

But usually, when Beauford is behind the wheel, no one is exempt: "I've had officers say to me, 'That guy will give his mother a ticket.'  Well, you know again, I don't know that I would give my mother a ticket....I'm not very popular because no one wants to get a speeding ticket but again, that's part of my job."

We didn't have to go very far to see just how good he is at his job.  It turned out several people in our newsroom have been stopped by Officer Beauford.

And you could probably do the same thing with his fellow officers, though Buford says, "I've pulled over officers before but I've never wrote an officer a ticket."

What about their loved ones?  He was asked, "Have you ever had an officer contact you and say, hey, you gave my spouse a ticket, or my kid a ticket?" His reply: "Quite often."  And when asked if they get angry with him he admitted, "Sometimes they do."

Beauford, or at least his car, are so well-known that a Facebook post warning motorists that he was out several months ago, led to dozens of comments and "Thank yous."

Lt. Joe Seelye, LMPD Traffic Commander, says, "Ultimately our goal is to reduce fatalities and accidents, and if he has that reputation, that is if he's in a certain area that people will slow down, l well then, I am glad to hear that happen."

Lt. Seelye says Beauford is without question one of his top officers:  "Just like if, you know, if you play the Baltimore Ravens and Ray Lewis, you knew Ray Lewis was coming and they didn't want to run to Ray Lewis.  Well, don't run in the area that Clarence is going to be at because you're going to be written a citation."

Lt. Seelye says Officer Beauford may not be popular with drivers, but with 72 fatalities this year, 48 percent above last year, he's not just writing tickets, he is saving lives.

Beauford says watching your speed helps him do just that:  "Speed contributes to the severity of an accident, you know, the more speed the more severe the accident is going to be."

Officer Beauford has in enough time to retire, but says he plans to stick around for another three to five years.

Copyright 2013 WDRB News.  All rights reserved.