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'Hot Pursuit' Provides Hot Police Chatter

December 25, 1987|THOMAS K. ARNOLD

SAN DIEGO — Pat Sajak, take heed. Your days as broadcast game-show kingpin may be numbered, thanks to a challenge from none other than Matt Weathersby, the chatty public affairs officer with the San Diego Police Department.

A month ago, Weathersby signed on as host of "Hot Pursuit," a radio game show that airs each Friday from 10 to 11 a.m. on North County news/talk station KVSD-AM (1000).

Structured after the popular Trivial Pursuit board game, Weathersby's call-in program pits listener knowledge of police work against a slate of more than 300 questions pertaining to local law enforcement, from traffic laws and court rulings to narcotics jargon and arrest policies.

Sample questions, and correct answers:

- True or false. In Lakeside, you could be issued a traffic citation for not having reflectors on your horse when riding on a public street at night. (True.)

- What is the "Miranda Decision? (A Supreme Court ruling that requires suspects to be advised of their rights.)

- What is meant by the term "nickel bag"? (A $5 bag of drugs.)

- If an officer arrests a wanted suspect for an outstanding $5,000 warrant, can the officer collect the reward?" (No.)

Callers who correctly answer three easy "yellow-card" questions, or just one more difficult "blue-card" question, win a prize, Weathersby said--"usually some cop-related item, like a dead-bolt lock or a police cookbook."

Each winner's name is also entered into a monthly grand-prize drawing, he added. This month, Weathersby is giving away a pair of $250 car alarms; in January, the grand prize is a starring role in a episode of "Crimestoppers," a series of televised crime re-enactments.

"The main purpose for the show is to educate the public about police work," Weathersby said. "There are a lot of things people need to know about the law, and this way they can learn in a way that's both entertaining and informative.

"For example, many people don't realize that a San Diego police officer can write a ticket on the freeway, or that we can't chase a suspect across the border into Mexico.

"And parents need to know that when they hear their children talking about 'black beauties,' they're not talking about a horse, but about amphetamines.

"The best way to fight crime is to fight ignorance, and the best way to fight ignorance is to build awareness."

Weathersby added that "Hot Pursuit" is a spin-off of "Behind the Badge," a two-hour talk show, also on KVSD, that he's been hosting since last summer.

"Behind the Badge," which airs the first and third Thursday of every month between 9 and 11 a.m., features interviews with local law enforcement officials and discussions about such timely issues as police-minority relations.

"During each show, we get so many questions from callers, about a wide range of topics, that we can't begin to answer them all," Weathersby said.

"So we decided to start another show that deals specifically with questions people have posed in the past, and questions they're likely to pose in the future.

"On the first installment of "Hot Pursuit," we got 60 calls. Quite obviously, people have a lot of questions, and this way we'll eventually get around to answering them all."

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