Numerous times over the years state lawmakers have considered allowing municipal police officers to use radar for speed enforcement.
And every time it was proposed, the measure failed.
Pennsylvania is the only state which doesn't allow local police officers to use radar.
It's time for lawmakers to introduce the concept again and hopefully pass it.
In this state, only state troopers can use radar. Local police departments use other speed timing devices, with most relying on timing cars between two lines that a specific distance apart.
In some communities, the lines used to time speeders have faded away and haven't been repainted. The bottom of Bugzie's Mountain in Summit Hill is an example.
The speed timers used by municipal police departments can't be used in the entire town. There must be an adequate line of vision of police officers to time drivers. As a result, there are too many streets on which speed enforcement can't even occur.
Speeding is a serious problem in many communities. Unfortunately, local police officers have their hands tied on enforcement. Allowing them to utilize radar would help a lot.
Back in the day, lawmakers were concerned the local cop shops would use the radar to write tickets, boosting the police department's bank account.
One bi-partisan bill introduced would have ensure that local municipalities get only 25 percent of the revenue from speeding tickets. That would take away any incentive for local departments to cash in.
The bill didn't pass.
Actually, local municipalities should get a larger percentage. Why should the state receive 75 percent of the efforts of local police officers? It's the local municipalities which must equip the police officers with the radar, it's local tax payers who pay the salaries and benefits for local police officers, and local municipalities even have to pay for the blank tickets for officers to write the citations.
It's time for Pennsylvania lawmakers to make sure local police are equipped for traffic enforcement. Measuring travel distance between two lines on the road with a stop watch sounds archaic and even potentially inaccurate.
Let local police have radar guns so they can do their jobs and make our communities safe from speeders.
By Ron Gower