Clarion Borough Council backs local police radar

By Samantha Beal



Clarion Borough Council member Earl Zerfoss July 2 encourages his fellow council members to support a move to allow Pennsylvania municipal police departments to use radar as a tool for speed limit enforcement.

The measure has passed in the state senate and is now awaiting action in the House of Representatives.

Zerfoss reported he's contacted state Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-63).

"We should send a letter to Donna Oberlander and let her know (we) want radar," said Zerfoss. "We're entitled to it the same as (the) state police."

Councilmen Jason Noto and Ben Aaron agreed sending a letter was a good idea.

"I look at it more as a means of specifically being able to tell the speed (of a vehicle) and enforce our speed limits," said Aaron. "It saves us time in court."

Pennsylvania is the only state in the country which doesn't allow its municipal police officers to use radar guns.

Under the proposed legislation, municipal police officers would have to complete a training course and would have to list signs warning drivers of radar use within 500 feet of municipalities' borders.

Also, during the first 90 days of radar use in a given municipality, speeding drivers identified by radar would only be given written warnings as a sort of adjustment period.

Municipalities would also have to report the revenue generated from radar ticketing, according to the legislation, and if revenue generated exceed 5 percent of the police department's budget, the excess money would be given to the Pennsylvania State Police for traffic safety purposes.

Opponents of the legislation argue municipalities will use radar enforcement to generate fine revenue.

Zerfoss also addressed Gov. Tom Wolf's proposal to charge municipalities that don't have their own paid police force and instead rely on state police services.

"We need to support that one, too," said Zerfoss.

Zerfoss argued he should not be expected to pay for municipalities that don't want to pay for their own police force and don't have to pay for state police services.

Noto pointed out some municipalities might dissolve their local departments altogether.

"And that is happening," agreed council president Carol Lapinto.

Aaron said he wasn't sure many municipalities could afford the proposal.

In other business, council unanimously approved:

lThe resignation of mayor Dan Parker, effective July 8.

"I truly have felt honored by the people of Clarion who trusted me to serve in the office as mayor," said Parker.

William Miller was appointed to serve as mayor until the end of the year.

lSending a letter of support to Oberlander encouraging her and other legislators to redesign right-to-know laws, specifically to address the right-to-know process being used to harass municipal governments.

The movement originated in a municipality in eastern Pennsylvania and doesn't specifically apply to Clarion Borough, according to treasurer and open records officer Todd Colosimo.

lA special events request from Clarion Area Sports Boosters for its annual bonfire from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 22.

lA special events request from Immaculate Conception Church to close Weaver Place from Main to Liberty streets and Madison Road from McDonald's to Eighth Avenue for a parish picnic Aug. 18.

lA special events request from Next Step to use sidewalks for a walk-a-thon from 9 to 11 a.m. Oct. 12.

lA special events request from the Clarion Area Chamber of Business and Industry for the 2019 Autumn Leaf Festival Sept. 28 through Oct. 6.

lLinda LaVan-Preston attending the Pennsylvania Association of Municipal Administrators' Conference in Cranberry Township at an estimated cost of $842.

lSending a letter to the county approving the county's multimodal transportation grant application.

lObtaining designs, specifications and cost estimate for replacing the Clarion Free Library boiler.

lObtaining designs, specifications and cost estimate for replacing six regular doors in the fire department.

lAdvertising for a five-year recycling services contract.