Hollywood and plenty of people would have you believe that Unidentified Flying Objects – UFOs – the vehicles of transport for aliens from another world – are real. Ever since the mid-1940s when many people thought they saw a flying saucer crash in the desert near Roswell, the stories have grown and morphed into an entire subculture and major tourist industry. Now pushing 80-years old, the UFO tales have become ingrained as part of the state identity for New Mexico. As such, the law enforcement community is as familiar with it as anyone else and often has to deal with people doing things that are borderline illegal as they search for proof of alien life on earth. Just recently, the New Mexico State Police (NMSP) answered the question definitively when one of their speed cameras caught a flying saucer traveling just above Highway 380 between Roswell and Tatum.
Ms. Jacqueline Lattery, a civilian employee of the NMSP working out of their headquarters in Santa Fe, was more than surprised and disbelieving when she first viewed the images from the speed camera. Located near mile marker 165, the camera often catches speeders in excess of 90+ miles per hour. The highway is flat and straight in that section and, due to the previous number of speed-related accidents along that stretch, NM put in a speed camera in 2010. Ms. Lattery is tasked with reviewing the images captured and seeing vehicles traveling at high speeds is what she expects. But what she wasn’t prepared to see was pictures of a flying saucer roughly ten feet off the highway surface and registering a speed of 234 miles per hour.
Each of the NMSP speed enforcement “tickets” is accompanied by three images, captured by the camera .5 seconds apart. The RADAR incorporated into the speed detection unit can register speeds as high as 999 miles per hour but, up until March 23rd of this year, 202mph was the highest speed Ms. Lattery had confirmed as captured by the RADAR/camera. That vehicle was identified as a 2017 Corvette.
When Ms. Lattery reported for work on the morning of Monday, March 23rd, and after getting her coffee using her usual alien-head-shaped coffee mug (she’s somewhat of an alien buff herself), she got situated at her desk and began to review the speed enforcement images on her computer. After a typical weekend of nice weather she says the NMSP captures roughly 165-175 such violations on the various state highways. She was about half way through her work morning when she came across violation #NM2020-1701. The first thing that caught her eye was the obvious new record high speed of 234 miles per hour. She opened the images to see what kind of vehicle had been going so fast.
The three images, captured ½ second apart, clearly show a dome-over-disk shaped object traveling parallel to and in line with the highway, roughly ten feet off the ground. The first and third images are not as clear as the second simply due to distance and the speed of the object. At 234mph the object traversed over 350 feet in the one second that passed from first image to last image.
With cameras facing both directions along the highway, the speed enforcement unit takes its first image when the vehicle is approaching and reaches a distance of 150 feet – 50 yards. At a high rate of speed, using 200mph as representative, when the camera captures its second image ½ a second later, the vehicle has travelled roughly 50 yards and is within mere feet of the camera, either coming or going depending on actual speed. The high resolution camera, by taking three photos ½ second apart is guaranteed to capture an image of the vehicle’s license plate unless it’s been obscured.
In this case, although Ms. Lattery wasn’t at liberty to share the photos, she said the first image showed the flying saucer appearing to hover over the highway but blurry with speed; something she said is rare for the photo equipment used. The second photo showed the object just feet away. She said she could see what looked like four “thrusters” geometrically located on the underside of the disk shaped vehicle. She further described it as appearing perfectly round along its horizontal axis with the exception of two ports on one side – the back of the object based on the direction it was traveling – that she assumed were some type of thrust creating mechanics. The third image showed the UFO traveling away from the camera, still flat to the road and at the same height off the ground. Both the approach and the departure cameras registered the same speed: 234mph.
Ms. Lattery’s statements revealed she has long believed in UFOs and aliens. Her quandary is whether they are from another world or are our descendants coming back through time to check on us or correct us somehow. The NM speed enforcement clerk was quite expressive about her belief that the UFO was probably capable of traveling much faster or hovering in place based what she could observe in the photos.
After reviewing the speed enforcement images for authenticity and enforcement viability, Ms. Lattery is required to pass them up her chain of command to be verified by a sworn law enforcement officer – a captain in this case – and then mailed out via the US Postal Service. Ms. Lattery stated she originally felt the images might have been some kind of prank but she complied with her operational directives and, after standard verification, she passed #NM2020-1701 up her chain for enforcement. She reports that within a few hours she received a visit from the captain in question who informed her that such “jokes” weren’t appreciated and that #NM2020-1701 had been shredded. She was counseled about creating such false images in the future. When Officer.com tried to contact the Captain for comment, we were told that no such officer existed on the NMSP.
The unanswered question remains: Was this a real UFO piloted by aliens from another planet or even humans from the future? Or was it simply some type of April Fools’ joke perpetrated by an enforcement clerk at the NMSP?
It’s actually an April Fools’ joke perpetrated by those of us here at Officer.com! The idea came from this article detailing how aerospace engineers in Romania have actually designed and created a flying vehicle like the one described. Pass it along in disbelief so you can enjoy pranking others. Enjoy April Fools’ Day!