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Funding sought for radar guns

July 24, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The W.Va. State Police Martinsburg detachment is asking Berkeley County to help catch speeders by footing the bill for one or more new radar guns.

Sgt. J.R. Adams went to the Berkeley County Commission Thursday asking for funding for one to four new radar guns, which he said would cost about $1,000 each.

"The wish list is four, but I'll take what I can get if you're interested," said Adams, who told commissioners about five of the barrack's 16 troopers don't have radar guns in their vehicles.

Moving the mounted radar guns from vehicle to vehicle shortens the life span, he said.

The investment would pay off for the county in additional revenue from speeding tickets, portions of which are earmarked for the Berkeley County Board of Education, the Eastern Regional Jail, the county court system and local law enforcement training, Adams said.

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None of the money goes to the state police, which doesn't get any funding from county coffers and provides free state police lab services to local law enforcement agencies, he said.

Only $5 of each $87 ticket leaves the county, sent to Charleston for the victims' compensation fund, Adams said.

The entire fine portion - a minimum $20 - goes to the school system, he said.

Using figures for tickets written from March to June 1998, the detachment projected its troopers will write an estimated 2,900 traffic citations carrying fines this year, Adams said.

A citation for driving under the influence means around $500 for the county, he said.

The county could end up short two more radar guns if it turns out problems can't be fixed, Adams said.

The two date from 1988, when the county bought four radar guns for the state police barrack, which got the rest of its radar guns from the state police, he said.

Adams said he was trying to be reasonable by requesting the least expensive radar gun without compromising quality.

Commissioners praised law enforcement efforts in the county but offered no promises of funding.

Commission President Jim Smith said the county budgets are all in place but the commission would take the request under advisement.

"If we don't do it, it's not because we don't appreciate you," said Commissioner Robert L. Burkhart.

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