Hermitage police hoping for state’s permission to use speed radar

HERMITAGE, Pa. (WYTV) – Hermitage police are in the midst of their semi-annual aggressive driving enforcement wave. They want this year to be the last time they have to use their current system, hoping for authorization to use speed radar to help them get the job done.

Excessive speeding, reckless driving, tailgating, and careless swerving — all things officers patrolling the streets are on the lookout for.

Police in Hermitage are trying to stop aggressive drivers to make sure everyone gets home safely. The department is one of over 206 municipal agencies statewide to conduct the aggressive driving wave.

“There’s been pretty bad crashes where the motorist might have been in too much of a hurry. Also, now we’re seeing an added risk now of distracted driving,” Patrolman Brad Davis said.

Last year, departments collectively wrote 43,154 aggressive driving citations during the waves — even without the use of radars or lasers. Municipal police in Pennsylvania are not permitted to use these tools.

“The devices we have now, they get the job done,” Davis said.

Hermitage police use Acutract, which determines a vehicle’s speed by measuring the time it takes to move between two points. Usually, the department has one officer using Acutract, while others down the road are ready to catch the drivers.

Still, targeting speed and aggressive driving takes extra time and manpower without the latest technology.

“It’s not as effective and it’s not as efficient,” Davis said.

However, two bills are moving forward in the Pennsylvania Senate that would authorize speed radar use by local police. They await consideration on the Senate floor.

“I think this will be the year that we will be able to get these devices out on the streets and help us to reduce crashes. That is the ultimate goal,” Davis said.

So how much of the money does the department get from citations during the aggressive driving enforcement waves? Davis said it’s not nearly as much as people think.

The City of Hermitage — not the police department — gets half of the ticket and the rest goes to the state.