Township is on the radar

By on June 18, 2014


Ephrata Township has added its voice to a growing chorus of local municipalities supporting efforts in Harrisburg to give local law enforcement the same radar speed enforcement equipment used by State Police.
In recent weeks, Ephrata Borough, Lititz Borough and Warwick Township have all likewise signed proclamations in support of the measure.
Ephrata Police Chief William Harvey was present at last Tuesday evening’s township supervisors meeting when supervisors Clark Stauffer, Tyler Zerbe and John Weber all unanimously voted to sign the proclamation.
“Every state in the union except for Pennsylvania allows local and regional police to use radar,” stated Harvey. “It is the most most accurate and scientific method out there. It is far more foolproof so drivers are not going to beat it / defeat it.”
Harvey explained that not only do radar devices mean one officer can conduct a traffic detail rather than requiring two or more, radar allows an officer to gage speed even where the straight lines used in other systems cannot be easily plotted. Typically local police need to run two lines across a roadway, then use timing devices to determine vehicle speed between the two lines. Radar makes all of that unnecessary.
In addition, Harvey said he felt adding radar to the toolbox of local police would allow an officer to gage speed of on-coming traffic as well.
As with the other municipalities in support of the measures before both the state house and senate, Harvey and township officials stressed this was not intended as a means of driving up fine revenues but is entirely about ensuring safer roads for all drivers.
In his monthly report to the supervisors, Harvey said the local police respond to roughly a crash a day. While a pattern to the crashes has not been seen in those occurring recently, that information is being regularly reviewed for ways to further increase safety.
Harvey added that the department had received much positive feedback from Officer Pete Sheppard’s recently held “Every 15 Minutes” program at Ephrata High School.
“The students were absolutely attentive,” said Harvey. “Many told us they were glad they saw it. When I was in Lebanon County it seemed we lost several students every year to motor vehicle crashes. So far we have been far more fortunate here since I came to Ephrata. We feel we have done a good job with that and the Ephrata School District has been very supportive of the effort.”
Supervisors’ Chairman Clark Stauffer raised the possibility that before too long cars that drive themselves may be traveling local roads. He questioned Harvey on how that will impact safety as well as traffic laws.
And finally, Harvey commented on the recent fire which severely damaged the Ephrata McDonald’s. He said he had been there from early on in the operation to bring the fire under control.
“The reason McDonald’s is still standing is because of the fine service of our firefighters,” said Harvey. “I was there before the first trucks got there. I saw the planning, the attack efforts and cooperation that went into getting things under control.”
Harvey stated that Lincoln had been the primary company at the McDonald’s fire due to the restaurant’s location, but added that it soon went to a second alarm.
“Be assured that the emergency response crews in this area, the fire, ambulance and EMTs’ is a well-run show,” said Harvey. “You can sleep safe at night knowing you have a very good emergency services team.”
For additional information on Ephrata Township, visit
Gary P. Klinger is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached via email at or via twitter at


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