LETTER: Local police should be properly trained if allowed to use radar

Mike Gifford
Dover
York Area Regional Police Officer Michael Schiffhauer makes a traffic stop on Cape Horn Road using ENRADD (Electronic Non Radar Device) in Windsor Township, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

I do not disagree with the proposal to allow local police in our state to use radar for speed enforcement, as the limitations in the proposed legislation seem quite adequate, but one thing that is missing is stressing that the officers be given adequate training.

Years ago, when I lived in Maryland, a local police officer cited my wife for speeding about 0.4 of a mile from our home, in a 35 mph zone. She wasn't speeding; she might have been doing 36 or 37mph, but she was nowhere near the speed for which she was ticketed. I gave her a list of questions that would establish the shortcomings in the officer’s use of the radar gun, but when he committed perjury, stating the range to her car was between one and one and a half tenths of a mile when clocked, she panicked and folded.

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I measured it with a tape measure, and line of sight was 89 feet. That means he was well under the minimum capture distance for that model radar gun (250 feet). So he violated the accuracy specifications for the radar because of a large inability to estimate distance accurately, or he was dealing in leftovers, or he was panning for gold (those teaching the use of radar guns will know what those latter two terms are).

His incompetence or dishonesty caused my late wife to have to pay a ticket she didn't deserve.

We must assure that Pennsylvanians are sufficiently trained to avoid using the radar outside of its technical limitations. I already trust Pennsylvania officers to not trick the information that the radar yields for the ticket as this officer may have done.