Drivers pushing the speed limits in the Warren should beware, because city police have a new tool in their enforcement arsenal.
According to Sgt. Kenneth Hinton, an Electronic Non-radar Device (ENRADD) has been in the possession of Warren City Police all summer.
"People need to be aware that with this system we are able to go anywhere in the city to enforce speed," Hinton said. "That's the beauty of this system, it's so mobile you can take it anywhere."
Times Observer photo by Jacob Perryman
Take it slow
Warren City Police Sgt. Kenneth Hinton wants drivers in the city to be aware of the department’s new ENRADD speed monitoring system’s capabilities.
Hinton said the department purchased the system after its older Excessive Speed Device (ESP) stopped working.
"Because of that," Hinton said, "we had to upgrade."
Whereas an ESP system utilizes two sensors taped across a roadway to calculate vehicle speed, the ENRADD system consists of two lightweight, three-foot-wide bars placed on opposite sides of a roadway. One bar has two infrared light beam transmitters mounted exactly three feet apart and the other has two receiver sensors.
The system calculates speed as a vehicle passes between the two beams of light. When a vehicle breaks the first beam, a timer is started. When the vehicle breaks the second beam, the timer is stopped. The system then calculates speed based on the three-foot distance divided by the number of milliseconds timed. It then translates the total into miles per hour.
The results are transmitted by wireless network to a monitoring device mounted in a nearby police vehicle. Due to the wireless nature, the police vehicle does not need to be directly beside the device.
So far, police have employed the device in a number of locations, including Market and Ludlow streets and Conewango, Fourth and Pennsylvania avenues. He added that school zones are of particular concern to police.
"We've had very successful results," Hinton said. "We've been able to really slow down traffic."
The device is lightweight and can be set up in minutes.
"We can set this up absolutely anywhere," Hinton said. "All of our officers that use this have been trained by the manufacturer as well. They all have a certificate of completion."
The system is also more accurate than marking speed with a stopwatch based on painted road lines.
"With a stopwatch, you have the human error factor," Hinton said. "This completely eliminates that. People are aware of what the lines that are painted are for. It does act as a deterrent, but people need to be aware that with this system we are able to go anywhere, regardless of where the lines are painted."
According to Hinton, police has already issued several warnings and tickets utilizing the new system.
The new system was purchsed at a cost of $6,595, according to City of Warren Police Chief Ray Zydonik. Funding for the system was provided through a Department of Justice grant.
Under the Commonwealth's vehicle code, the penalty for violating the maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour is a base fine of $42.50. Violating all other speed limits carries a base fine of $35. Exceeding the speed limit by more than five miles per hour incurs an additional fine of $2 per additional mile per hour.
Depending on conditions, a law enforcement officer can charge a driver under the "driving vehicle at safe speed" section of the code. A violation under that section is a summary offense and carries a fine $25.
An additional $36 is assessed in summary cases involving a motor vehicle to cover county and commonwealth court costs.
Additional costs and charges, with their attendant fines, may be incurred depending on the nature of the traffic violation.