Last week the Ohio State Highway Patrol made two traffic stops where speed was the initial violation, but which ultimately resulted in the seizing of marijuana and heroin.
While many of the stops that officers make for speeding simply result in a warning or speeding ticket, these examples from Ohio highlight the fact that, in many instances, what would appear to be a traffic stop can lead to evidence of other criminal activity.
Since speeding is often the primary violation that leads to a traffic stop it is important that agencies have well developed department policies, regular device calibration, and officer training. As law enforcement it is important to ensure that the devices being used to verify speed are collecting accurate data. Taking these steps helps ensure proof of the original violation, speeding, preventing the exclusion of evidence of other crimes.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), maintains a standing subcommittee under the Highway Safety Committee, entitled the Enforcement Technologies Advisory Technical Subcommittee (ETATS). The subcommittee meets three times a year to maintain the minimum performance specifications for radar and lidar, which are published by NHTSA. These standards are designed to ensure that speed-measuring devices are both accurate and reliable when properly maintained and operated.
The IACP also maintains the Conforming Products Listing (CPL). The CPL lists radar and lidar devices that have undergone testing and are in compliance with the minimum performance specification for that technology. Law enforcement agencies should use the CPL as one of their criteria when purchasing speed-measuring equipment.
For more information regarding ETATS click here.