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Mounted Radar

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Emergency Services Vehicles

Mounted Radar

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 31, 2008

Horse Mounted Radar

Who says that Texans are not creative?

This picture came my way in this morning's email. Looks like a good idea that could work around here.

Think of the fuel savings; no pesky gas gauge to keep an eye on, while sitting in an air-conditioned squad car watching speeders race by. No over-heated engines and tow bills. No flat tires.

Just cool (or maybe not-so-cool) natural air-"conditioning" - except for the smoke stacks shown in the background. Well, not to worry about too many of those in McHenry County.

In Colorado we had a mounted troop at the sheriff's department. Are any of these left in Illinois? Heck, they are hardly even any reserve police officers or sheriff's deputies left. Bureaucratic snarls and worries about liability have resulted in decisions by many law enforcement agencies to shut down use of "reserve" or volunteer personnel.

Is this the right decision? Why should they close their eyes to the substantial savings available by using dedicated volunteer help?

Training costs are not all that high, nor is the cost of equipment, when compared to the labor cost of another officer. Many volunteers are dedicated to such a high level that they will pay for their own training and provide their own equipment. Yet departments still say "No."

For example, putting a reserve officer on a horse with a radar gun saves a department one salary. Of course, a department might require a 40-hour training course to find the on/off switch on the radar gun. Or let the officer sit in his own car (not recognizable as a police vehicle) and check speeders along any roadway. The idea is to "catch" the speeders, isn't it? Not just slow them down until the pass the squad car.


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