Municipal police press for change in Pa. law to use radar guns

    A group of local police chiefs is renewing the call for Pennsylvania legislators to change the law to let them use radar guns.

    In Pennsylvania, state police are allowed to clock car speeds with radar, but local officers must rely on other measuring tools such as VASCAR.

    Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said those methods are inferior and that radar is necessary to crack down on speeding drivers.

    “It’s unconscionable that people drive the way they do,” he said. “As a result of that careless, reckless, speeding driving, hundreds, if not thousands, of people are maimed and killed on our highways throughout the entire state.”

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    A bill has been introduced in the state Senate that would expand the use of radar guns, but it has not been voted out of committee. Lawmakers in the House have proposed similar legislation.

    Erik Arneson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, said some caucus members have concerns about the legislation.

    “Historically, those [concerns] have been of the nature that they don’t want this to be a way to simply raise revenue, that the focus needs to be on public safety,” he said.

    Arneson added that fewer and fewer legislators have those worries as time passes. Still, he said, it would be an uphill battle to pass the bill with only a few more days left this session.

    Chitwood said the idea that the legislation would encourage local officers to write tickets simply to raise revenue for municipalities is “absolutely ludicrous.” Police officers from Haverford, Aldan and Clifton Heights, as well as Republican state representative candidate Jamie Santora, attended a press conference Monday with Chitwood to rally for the expanded use of radar guns.

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