Pa. bill would put radar in hands of local police

LAMPETER, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania is the only state where municipal police departments cannot use radar to catch speeders, but bipartisan legislation may change that.

One police departments that supports the change is the West Lampeter Township Police Department. Police Chief Brian Wiczkowski said local departments currently must rely on timing systems to catch those with the need for speed.

“It’s a whole lot easier to use,” he said about radar. “There’s a lot less room for human error than the other systems.”

Supporters of legislation to get radar into the hands of local departments argue police would be more effective at catching speeders and in turn make the roads safer.

“The time is long overdue,” Wiczkowski said. “Speeding is a nationwide problem. It’s all over, as are vehicle accidents related to speeding. There’s really no reason for us not to be able to use technology to hopefully have a positive impact on that.”

Those opposed believe radar in the hands of local police departments is ripe for abuse and would serve as a cash cow for struggling municipalities.

In a statement, James Sikorski Jr. of the National Motorist Association said enforcement isn’t a problem in the state, it’s the speed limits.

“It has been shown that when you try to force people to deviate from the correct speed for a road, you get more crashes,” he said.

State Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) is among lawmakers sponsoring the bill that’s moving forward. He said a growing number of lawmakers now support it.

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