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March 20. 2014 8:51PM

Salem to buy radar units for police motorcycles

SALEM — Drivers in town may want to take their foot off the gas when they see one of the police department’s motorcycles.

Selectmen recently approved a 50 percent matching grant from the state’s highway safety division for $2,349 that will allow the department to buy two radar units for its motorcycles.

“Any time we are looking to buy equipment we look for grants, matching or otherwise, through highway safety,” said Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten. “We identified the grant with a 50 percent match for the radar units. We’ve used this grant before to outfit all of our frontline cruisers over the last eight to 10 years and their subsequent replacements as they get older.”

Patten said this will be the first time the police department has used the grants to purchase radar units for its motorcycles.

“One of the benefits of having a motorcycle unit is that you get to some of the neighborhoods and do some traffic enforcement where it’s not a great spot for a cruiser,” said Patten.

The remaining 50 percent of the cost of the radar units will be paid for through drug forfeiture assets, so it will have no impact on the budget or the tax rate, Patten said.

Selectman Stephen Campbell asked whether the radar units would be permanently mounted on the motorcycles or used for other purposes as well.

Patten said they will not be permanently attached in case they need to be taken off the motorcycles during bad weather. He said, however, that the units are slightly smaller and different than the ones used in the police cruisers.

“I do believe they could be used in other areas, but they are pretty much assigned to the motorcycles, and we don’t have any other plans for them,” Patten said. “All 12 of our front-line cruisers have (radar units), so there are no plans in the works for having them on anything else.”

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