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Radar would better protect citizens

On Tuesday, April 20, the Mirror published a letter from an individual representing the PA Advocate National Motorists Association requesting Pennsylvania citizens contact their local state representatives and request they vote “no” on House Bill 606, which would allow local municipal police departments to use radar to enforce illegal speeding in their municipalities.

Many of his statements are not accurate, as in only one vehicle can be on the road to be detected.

He does not mention that Pennsylvania averages more than 1,000 deaths and more than 76,000 serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents every year.

On a daily basis, police officers, paramedics and firemen respond to these motor vehicle accidents caused by speeding and have to remove the mangled bodies of our citizens — and sometimes they are infants — from the vehicles.

I wonder how many times this individual has ever done that or even how many fatal accidents he has even seen. I wonder what his feelings would be if any member of his family was involved in a fatal accident that involved speeding.

As the Logan Township chief of police, I testified four times before the Pennsylvania Transportation Committees regarding the use of radar by local police departments that would help protect our citizens.

At one meeting, I proposed that LTPD would purchase a radar unit and that the fine from every citation could go to the state, which the committee seemed interested in.

For the public’s information, for every traffic citation that would be written, the local police departments would only receive $12.50, which does not even come close to covering the expenses to enforce the citations, hearings and the cost of the radar units.

I will also tell you that at Transportation Committee hearings, there have been small police departments testify that they need radar to financially support their departments, which for years has been the reason that local police have been shut out of using radar, and I firmly agree with that.

In our local area, our police departments patrol Plank Road, Pleasant Valley Boulevard, Valley View Boulevard, Logan Boulevard, 6th and 7th avenues, Route 220, Route 22, Route 36 and so many more significant roads.

It is my understanding that on March 16, 2021, the entire House Transportation Committee voted to recommend House Bill 606 move forward to be voted on.

What does that tell you? Our legislators and local police want to protect our citizens. The safety of our citizens is what we exist for.

Heller spent 41 years in local law enforcement, including 12 as Logan Township police chief, before retiring in 2015. He’s currently a Logan Township supervisor.

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