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Are local municipal police allowed to use radar for traffic enforcement in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that prohibits municipal police from using radar devices for speed enforcement, according the Pennsylvania State Mayors’ Association.

By law, Pennsylvania State Police are the only department allowed to use radar devices.

Municipal police are allowed to conduct speed enforcement but it has to be done with other devices like ENRADD, which calculates speed by measuring the time it takes for a vehicle to cross two light beams set a fixed distance apart.

One of the main arguments against local police having access to radar devices is that they will be used as a way to generate revenue with safety being an ancillary concern.

Numerous bills have been introduced in the state House of Representatives and Senate to allow local police to use radar.

For example, Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny County, has a bill in the House Transportation Committee that would allow municipal police to use radar devices after completing a training program.

A bill by Sen. Randy Vulkavich, R-Allegheny County, goes a step farther and allows use of radar by local police following a proper training course but also requires any proceeds from speed enforcement that exceed 20 percent of the municipality’s budget be remitted to the state.

“Radar technology was developed prior to and during World War II and radar speed guns were introduced into the marketplace in the 1950’s,” Vulkavich wrote in a co-sponsorship letter. “All states but Pennsylvania permit their local police to use radar for monitoring traffic speed. … It is ironic that we don’t allow municipal police to utilize radar, however, we do allow certain municipalities to utilize red light camera systems.”

None of the bills in the Legislature have been brought up for a full vote in either the House or the Senate.

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