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Montana "Junior Trooper" targets speeders with a hair dryer

You may recognize her from a photo made famous on social media
Posted at 10:03 AM, Sep 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-16 16:33:52-04

FINLEY POINT — As you're driving down South Finley Point along the southeast shore of Flathead Lake, make sure you slow down, because there's a junior highway state trooper who's checking your speed - in a unique way.

You may recognize Patti Baumgartner from a photo made famous on social media.

A mom and a grandma, Baumgartner wants cars on South Finley Point to slow down for people's safety.

Patti said, "They forget to slow down and there are lots of people that are complaining about that, they can't walk or ride their bikes.  I wouldn't even attempt riding my around." 

So she took matters into her own hands: "We were talking about maybe something would slow the cars down. So we decided to put me in a chair and I guess use the hair dryer as a speed thing."

Patti's son took a photo of her and tweeted it out to Montana Highway Patrol trooper Noah Pesola, hoping to catch his attention - and it did.

Pesola said, "I thought it was hilarious, I think that we have a speed issue in Montana and I thought it was a great creative idea for the public to try and combat that a little bit without making people too upset."

Pesola liked it so much he gave Baumgartner a special title.

He explained, "It's not an official or anything like that for the honorary trooper, which is kind of what I called it.  I didn't know what else to do for her, when she's doing something for the community, and like she says, she's got grandkids in the area so she's doing something for her grandkids' benefits. The best thing I could think of was give her a trooper hat and a badge to make her look a little more official."

Baumgartner says she plans on taking the hair dryer out again to monitor people's speed, hoping that people will slow down.