Pa. Senate passes bill to let local police use radar; House sponsor optimistic

Pennsylvania Politics

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Should local police be able to catch speeders using radar? All state senators but one voted yes on Senate Bill 419.

A similar bill passed last year in the Senate but never made it to the house for a vote.

State Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland County) hopes this year is different and that his bill will protect neighborhoods.

Local police departments in Pennsylvania are the only ones in the country not allowed to use radar devices to stop speeders.

“Most of the complaints we get in townships and the boroughs are for residential speeding and we really can’t enforce that as best as we can,” Captain Jason Reber with the Susquehanna Township Police Department, said.

That’s because Susquehanna Township police are limited to using speed timing devices similar to a stopwatch.

“We record the speed by using a formula of how long it takes for a car to get from point A to point B. There’s two lines on the roadway,” Reber said.

But if they had access to radar guns,

“That would be actually a lot better and safer for the communities if we were allowed to have radar to assist us in enforcing the speed in the neighborhoods that are difficult for us to do,” Reber said.

Tuesday, the state Senate voted 49 to 1 to allow for just that.

“It’s a good sign that there’s broad, broad support, just like there was in the Transportation Committee for my bill,” Rothman said.

But just like last year, Rothman’s bill faces opposition in the house. The Black caucus doesn’t want police to have an excuse to pull more people over and others are concerned that this is a money grab.

“This isn’t about creating more revenue for local municipalities. In fact my bill has a limit on what they can collect,” Rothman said.

Rothman says now is the time to make neighborhoods safer.

“I’m willing to work with anybody and I think we all have the same objective which is we want to protect our children,” Rothman said.

The bill allows municipalities to make up their own minds about radar, so each community would have to pass ordinances to allow it.

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