Tamaqua Borough Council is considering purchasing this nifty device that will record the speeds of motorists who drive pass it.

It goes a step further. If you're speeding, the sign has a GPS unit which will send a signal as well as an image of your car to a police cruiser, so that the police officer can come after you.

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for municipal police officers to use radar. So why, then, is it legal for radar to be somehow installed on a stationary sign and record your speed, then forward the info to another location?

How can you defend yourself if you're the person arrested as a result of information forwarded by the sign?

Why don't police just use their various speed monitoring devices to control speeders?

We're all for the police arresting someone who breaks the law especially reckless speeders; the kind that quickly come up on you and intimidate you by riding your bumper. It just seems wrong, though, to have a sign monitoring your habits and having that info used in your potential arrest or even detainment.

The best solution would be for lawmakers to give local police authority to use radar.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the union where municipal police officers can't utilize radar guns for keeping speeders in check.

Only the state police are permitted to use radar.

This is wrong.

Many speed monitoring methods used by municipal police require two patrol cars. Most of them time a vehicle as it passes two points.

How can this be as accurate as radar?

Yet, state lawmakers refuse to give municipal police a proven tool to enforce their laws.

Why?

It's still difficult to comprehend that a police officer isn't permitted to hold a radar gun in his hand, but can use information from an unmanned sign to enforce the law.

Recently, an investigative piece showed cameras mounted on traffic signals to catch speeders are rife with errors.

How accurate will this sign be that Tamaqua Borough Council wants to purchase? Will it have police officers pursuing innocent parties just on the basis of transferred GPS information?

Tamaqua Chief of Police Richard Weaver told the council how impressive the sign is. Undoubtedly it is. Anything is impressive when you have laws that prohibit the proper enforcement of laws.

Actually, Tamaqua needs the same thing that's needed in every other community with a municipality with a local police department.

It needs radar to be made legal by state legislators so police officers can effectively do their jobs. When police physically monitor traffic, they nab more than speeders. They stop road rage incidents, they curb reckless driving, they spot drunken drivers.

It's time Pennsylvania lawmakers do the right thing and make radar legal for local police departments. After all, 49 of 50 states can't be wrong.

Pennsylvania stands alone on radar non-use. Let's quit being behind the times. This is the 21st century and radar is a proven tool for speed enforcement.

A radar gun in the hand of a police officer makes more sense than a radar device hanging on an inanimate object.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com