Racing for speed detectors | Municipalities must avoid arrest windfalls
The Tribune-Democrat

Advanced technology is doing for municipal police departments what the state Legislature has refused to do: Give officers a simpler way to nab speeders.

Adams Township is the latest municipality to opt for the Electronic Non-Radar Detection Device for its police department. The supervisors last week voted to buy the system for $3,900, a relatively small expenditure.

ENRADD, as it is called, is not as simple as the radar gun used by the state police, but is easier to use – and apparently more accurate – than the Visual Average Speed Computer and Recorder (VASCAR) system.

Several times legislation has been introduced to permit municipal officers to patrol with radar. Each time it has been defeated, with opponents arguing that it could be abused by departments looking for funding windfalls through speeding arrests.

Here’s how the latest device works: An infrared beam is transmitted across the road between pairs of ENRADD sensors. When a passing vehicle interrupts the beam, the vehicle’s speed is measured and sent by radio to a waiting cruiser.

“There is no room for human error,” Adams police Chief Kirk Moss told his supervisors.

With ENRADD, speed checks can be set up nearly anywhere.

Adams Township, like a majority of area municipalities, currently relies on VASCAR, which requires officers to time cars between two white lines or landmarks at least 150 feet apart.

According to a Tribune-Democrat report, Johnstown and Cambria Township also have ENRADD. Cresson Township and Cresson and Portage boroughs have systems on order, while no local force in Somerset County uses it.

It’s a sure bet that most area municipalities soon will be purchasing the new units. Only time will tell whether they opt to cash in on speed traps, as our legislators’ fear.

We hope not.

In any case, motorists obeying speed limits have nothing to fear.
print this story email this story comment on this story