Radar Guns On Local Police Wish List

By Jim Madalinsky

Published 01/13 2014 10:11PM

Updated 01/13 2014 11:18PM

HOLLIDAYSBURG, BLAIR COUNTY - It's a question that has been debated for decades. Currently State Police are the only law enforcement in the state allowed to use radar guns, but some legislators are hoping to change that.
Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that doesn't allow local police to use radar guns to catch speeders. There are currently two bills in the state House of Representatives that are aimed at changing that, but local police departments aren't optimistic even though they say it would make a big difference.
“By the time they would see us it'd be over. Right now, when they see us we have to let them go through a predetermined zone that's at least 200.6 feet for us,” Hollidaysburg Polcie Chief Jeff Ketner says.
Ketner has been hoping to arm his officers with radar guns for decades.
Currently, the department uses two unmarked vehicles, the Vascar system and even a stopwatch to deter people from breaking the speed limit.
“It would be beneficial. Maybe not to the motoring public, but to the police department being able to watch the school zones and things like that,” Chief Ketner says.
Two key issues have kept the guns out of local police officers hands.
The first is the price to properly training officers to use radar.
The other is the fear local departments will issue too many tickets and use it to raise money.
“I probably wouldn't run radar any more than I do Vascar, because I have other things to do,” Ketner says.
And in the meantime Ketner says he'll make due with the equipment he's given.
“We've pretty much always had a reputation for speeding because we have 36 and 22 coming through the borough. We have 5 schools so we keep an eye on it,” Ketner says.
State Senator John Eichelberger told WTAJ that he agreed the big concerns are proper training and making sure departments don't take advantage of the technology to issue more tickets. He says if those issues would be addressed in a bill, he'd most likely be in favor of allowing radar for local law enforcement.

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