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Wadena PD gets new radar unit

Tom Kummrow, law enforcement liaison with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, spoke to the Wadena City Council and presented a Stalker DSR 2X radar unit to the police department.

Kummrow said that ever since Bruce Uselman became police chief, Wadena has been involved in the Safe & Sober program. Because of the program, Kummrow said, there will be more high visibility enforcement and "waves" of enforcement.

Council member Don Niles complimented law enforcement for Wadena having the lowest auto accident death toll since the 1940s, and no auto accidents deaths during Christmas.

Thanks to a new speed measuring device provided by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Office of Traffic Safety, law enforcement officials in Wadena are better equipped to identify vehicles driving at illegal and unsafe speeds. The police department is one of only nine law enforcement agencies in Minnesota being awarded a Stalker mobile traffic radar unit for participating in the Safe & Sober enforcement effort that took place during the month of October 2010.

"Traffic enforcement may not be the most glamorous job in the department," Uselman said, "but it is more likely to save a life than nearly anything we can do. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for Minnesotans usually considered too young to die -- those between 1 and 34 years of age."

"It's impossible to tell exactly how many or whose lives are saved when we emphasize traffic enforcement," Uselman said. "The result is a crash that doesn't happen. We just know it changes drivers' behaviors -- people buckle up, slow down and don't drive impaired."

Kummrow said, "Wadena Police Department is receiving this radar in recognition of their commitment to enforcing traffic laws every day, not just when we're able to pay for overtime hours. This is so important to upholding the motto 'to protect and serve' -- it keeps our families complete and our friends healthy."

Wadena is currently a partner on a Safe & Sober grant with the Menahga Police Department and the Wadena County Sheriff's Department. This grant provides overtime funds to place officers on the roads of Wadena County.

The dual-antenna feature of Wadena's new radar allows the officer to check the speed of the vehicles behind the squad as well as those in front of it. The unit is a "state of the art" radar which will complement Wadena's current traffic enforcement inventory.

Safe & Sober is a statewide national law enforcement campaign designed to increase seat belt and child seat use and decrease the incidence of impaired driving.