12/24/2007South Carolina: Untrained Police Issue Radar Speeding Tickets
Hundreds of police officers in South Carolina issue speeding tickets with laser and radar guns they are not certified to use.
Police in several cities throughout the state of South Carolina use radar and laser speed measuring guns without any formal classroom training or certification. The Charleston Post and Courier newspaper confirmed that the speed trap cities of Cottageville, Hanahan, Harleyville, and Mount Pleasant all use uncertified officers to issue speeding citations that help generate thousands in revenue for the local budget. Mount Pleasant, for example, has a total of thirty-two officers who use the complex equipment without any certification.
Kandy Burdick, 64, decided to fight what she believed was an inaccurate and unjust radar ticket she received in Cottageville in October. Under oath, the police officer who stopped her admitted that he was uncertified. Burdick was cleared of the charge.
"It seems a little backward that I need a piece of paper that allows me to drive but he doesn't need a license to operate a device that says I'm driving too fast," Burdick told the Post and Courier.
Although the state operates a training academy that offers a free, three-day course in the proper methods of using the equipment to issue tickets, attendance is not required by law. Many departments do not send officers to the course because it would mean several days worth of potential ticketing would be lost.
Last year, Cottageville Police Chief Ray Taylor was caught on tape berating a police officer for his "poor performance" in issuing radar tickets.
"The main priority right now when you're driving is generating revenue," Taylor said on the tape.