Annual push underway in Pennsylvania to let local police use speed-detecting radar | TribLIVE.com
Regional

Annual push underway in Pennsylvania to let local police use speed-detecting radar

Jacob Tierney
1351986_web1_digipix-5547b4g5obovbrxbljf_original
Tribune-Review
State Trooper Roger Kaufman checks motorists’ speed using a radar gun near the Cheswick exit along Route 28 in June. 2005.

It’s a question that seems to have been around almost as long as the Model T: Should local police departments in Pennsylvania be allowed to use radar to catch speeders?

The state Senate thinks so. A bill permitting local police departments to use radar passed 49-1 last week.

Only state police are allowed to use radar in Pennsylvania. Local police departments make do with a stopwatch, or a laser system known as ENRADD.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that doesn’t let local police use radar. Police have been trying to change that for years.

“It’s a hot topic … something that we’ve been fighting for some time now,” said Mike Vogel, president of the Western Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. “There’s really no reason that we shouldn’t possess those.”

The Senate passed a similar bill last year, but it died in the House.

Both the House and Senate have repeatedly considered the topic over several decades, without much progress.

Rep. Tim Hennessy, the Chester County Republican who chairs the House Transportation Committee, said his committee will likely start considering a radar bill soon but deliberations haven’t started.

“Radar seems to be the holy grail of all police departments,” Hennessy said.

The biggest concern for anti-radar advocates like the National Motorists Association is that local police departments will set up profitable speed traps, using speeding tickets as a way to earn revenue.

Association member Tom McCarey wrote an op-ed for PennLive in April arguing that radar should be banned in the state entirely. “Radar is not about highway safety,” he wrote. “Radar is about raising revenue.”

Vogel said local municipalities only make about $12 per speeding ticket. “We want our streets to be safe,” he said.

Hennessy said he wants to make sure any radar bill has safeguards to prevent it from being used as a revenue source.

“Personally, I’m not averse to the use of radar by local police,” he said. “I know some people don’t like the thought, but I think we might be able to put some decent restraints on it, or limitations, so it’s not used as a moneymaker.”

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Regional | Top Stories
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.