Oxford Borough Council approves resolution supporting radar gun legislation
● By Steven Hoffman
Oxford Borough Council recently approved a resolution to support Pennsylvania Senate Bill 535 and House Bill 71 that would allow all municipal police departments to use the same motor vehicle speed-timing equipment that the Pennsylvania State Police use.
The resolution, adopted unanimously by Oxford Borough Council on March 21, encourages local state lawmakers, including State Sen. Andrew Dinniman and State Rep. John Lawrence, to support these bills. The approval of either bill would authorize municipal police to use radar whenever they are enforcing the maximum speed laws for motor vehicles.
Oxford mayor Geoff Henry, long a proponent of allowing municipal police departments to use radar to control speeding motorists, said that police should have the tools necessary to protect the public. He noted that Pennsylvania is the only state in the U.S. that prohibits municipal police departments from utilizing the radar equipment that the state police use.
The resolution further states that, “…the inability of municipal police to use radar has resulted in uneven enforcement of the maximum speed laws across Pennsylvania, as well as contributed to Pennsylvania’s distinction as the state with the third-highest number of speeding-related fatalities and the third-highest percentage of speeding-related fatalities to total fatalities in the country.”
Oxford police chief John Slauch, who also favors the use of radar by municipal police officers, said that efforts have been made before to get state lawmakers to make this change, but the legislation has never been approved. State lawmakers in this part of the state have been generally supportive, Slauch explained, but there is usually less support for a change in the central part of the state.
Henry said that he could answer any questions regarding the resolution, and the benefits of the enactment of either of these bills on the Oxford community. He can be contacted at 610-998-0032 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Council unanimously approved the resolution, with council member Peggy Russell encouraging borough residents to contact their legislators and express their support for the legislation. The resolution that Oxford officials approved was drafted by the Radar Coalition which consists of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, the Fraternal Order of Police Pennsylvania State Lodge, the Pennsylvania Municipal League, the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Commissioners, the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and the Pennsylvania State Mayors’ Association.
Also at the March 21 meeting, Oxford Borough Council reversed course from a week earlier and voted to waive a fee for the Oxford Public Library to use space at the Oxford Memorial Park for two upcoming events. The sentiment was that the park registration fees should be waived because the library does so much to benefit the Oxford community.
After a lengthy discussion, borough council approved the purchase of three separate vehicles, including a backhoe and a dump truck, for a total of approximately $238,000. The funding for these vehicles will come from both the water fund and the streets fund, not the borough's general fund budget.
Russell introduced a discussion item about Family Promise of Southern Chester County, the organization that was formed over the last two years in an effort to help families that are dealing with homelessness. Family Promise of Southern Chester County has already served eight families, with a total of 27 family members, and helped four families identify permanent housing since beginning its work late in 2015.
Russell noted that of the 12 host churches and 15 support churches that work collaboratively as a part of Family Promise of Southern Chester County, there are two host churches—Oxford United Methodist Church and Church of the Sacred Heart—and four support churches—Oxford Presbyterian Church, St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, Oxford Church of the Nazarene, and the Apostolic Church of Oxford—that are located in Oxford. Russell said that Oxford's strong representation in such a good organization should be a source of pride for the town's citizens.