Dworek Says Brookville Police Will Not Write Traffic Citations if Senate Bill One Passes

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – Chief Ken Dworek of the Brookville Borough Police Department held a press conference yesterday afternoon, focusing on two areas of concern – the proposed surcharge to traffic violations and the state’s use of Drug Recognition Experts.

Chief Dworek is passionate about preventing the enforcement of Senate Bill One created to tack on $100.00 to traffic citations that will go directly to the transportation fund.

This bill was approved by the Senate Transportation committee on May 7 and will now head to the House of Representatives.

Senator John Rafferty’s Proposal for Transportation Funding

This transportation funding was proposed by Transportation Chair, Senator John Rafferty (R-Berks/Chester/Montgomery).   Rafferty anticipates this bill will develop $2.5 billion in three years for roads, bridges, mass transit, airports, and ports across Pennsylvania.

The proposal includes a surcharge to traffic violations that would add a $100.00 surcharge to citations for most traffic violations and increase fees for vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses.

It would also eliminate the Oil Company Franchise Tax, over three years, allowing the state to tax the full wholesale price of fuel instead of the current cap of $1.25 per gallon.

Dworek Says Rafferty is All Wrong

Chief Dworek says that Senator Rafferty is all wrong on this.

“The reason police officers write a citation is not to raise money but to stop people from having accidents, prevent traffic fatalities. The Western Chiefs are definitely against it. Every police officer I know is against it because it is so wrong,” states Dworek.

“This bill has nothing to do with traffic safety. The police will NOT write the traffic citations, in the majority. In Brookville, alone, he’ll be short on his projected budget $150,000.00 a year because the police are normal people. Nobody likes to go out and give a citation,” emphasizes Dworek.

“If you have a flagrant violator, swearing and cussing, it’s easy (to write a citation), but the majority is difficult when there is a child in there crying or woman is crying or husband is feeling bad.”

Dworek believes this bill will increase hearings on traffic citations because of the increased costs, and the state will lose money there.

“If we write 1,500 less citations a year in Brookville, and we are one of 14,000 municipalities, his budget is going to come way short of what he’s planning on doing. (This bill) just doesn’t make sense!” says Dworek.

The Average Cost of a Citation

During the press conference, Dworek gave an example of a traffic citation for an individual going 18 MPH over the speed limit as follows:

$61.00 – initial fine
$10.00 – EMS charge
$40.00 – general charge
$37.00 – costs
$10.00 – JCP/AT (access to justice)

$158.00 – Total Cost of Traffic Violation

With the new bill that Rafferty has proposed, violators will be facing an average traffic citation amounting to $258.00 based on the above example.

Dworek’s purpose for the press conference on this issue is for the people to become aware and take action before it becomes a law.
 

Pennsylvania State Police Drug Recognition Experts

Dworek says the Pennsylvania State Police Drug Recognition Experts are not being used because of state police policy. Because of the state budget cuts, the officers are not allowed to get overtime.

According to Dworek, the last three times that he has requested a DRE, he has been denied.

He says, “This has to fall on the commissioner who has cut out overtime.  He makes the decision.”

35% of DUI’s are Drugs

Dworek states that about 35% of DUI’s are drugs – not just marijuana and heroin but prescription pills, too.

“The daytime officers get as many DUI’s as the night time officers,” says Dworek.

Dworek says that his department needs a DRE because they are highly trained and they can help make a solid case against offenders.

One of the problems with this program is that there are only four DRE officers in Troop C which covers six counties – Jefferson, Clarion, Clearfield, Forest, Elk, and McKean.

Although there is a problem with the shortage of DRE officers for the Troop C area, Dworek says, “These things are falling on deaf ears in Harrisburg.”

Dworek’s Solution

Dworek says he has a simple solution: Put the additional costs for the DRE on the offender.

He wants a law in place that when a DRE is needed, they could put the cost directly in with the costs for the DUI offender.

“This person will pay for it because he violated the law,” says Dworek.

Dworek say that although his officers are trained in field sobriety, they need to rely on evidence. Without a DRE, they are taking a chance that the case won’t hold.

“Right now we have a great program, and we need it badly,” concludes Dworek.

 

Randon W. Bartley, Editor of Jeffersonian Democrat, Chief Ken Dworek, and Rich Wisniewski of Channel 6, WJAC at Dworek's press conference on June 5, 2013.

Information on the Pennsylvania Drug Evaluation and Classification Program

The Drug Evaluation and Classification program was initiated in 2004. Upon completion of their initial training, officers are certified as Drug Recognition Experts and become far more effective in identifying drug impaired individuals.

DRE police officers are trained to be able to identify drug impaired drivers. DRE refers not only to the officers themselves, but to the 12-step procedure that these officers use.

  • Breath Alcohol Test
  • Interview of Arresting Officer
  • Preliminary Examination
  • Eye Examination
  • Divided Attention Tests
  • Examination of Vital Signs
  • Dark Room Examinations
  • Examination of Muscle Tone
  • Examination of Injection Sites
  • Suspects Statements / Other Observations
  • Opinion of the Evaluator
  • The Toxicological Examination

According to the PA State Police website, “Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) are trained to recognize when an individual has been driving under the influence of drugs and to identify the type of drug causing impairment. Pennsylvania State Police Drug Recognition Experts can be contacted in order to assist in investigations of drug impaired subjects. They may be contacted by calling the individual station they are assigned to and requesting their assistance.”

Sources: abc27.com; Pennsylvania State Police; Wikipedia


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