Radar unit donated to police department

The Princeton Police Department is one of three departments out of about 120 law enforcement agencies in a northern Minnesota region recently given a high tech Stalker mobile traffic radar setup valued at nearly $3,000.

Tom Kummrow, law enforcement liaison with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, presented the radar equipment to Princeton Police Sgt. Joe Backlund during the Dec. 22 Princeton City Council meeting and explained the reason for the award. It is in recognition of the department’s “commitment to enforcing traffic laws every day,” Kummrow said, “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.”

The equipment given to the department includes two radar guns, one that sits in the back of a squad car and one in the front. One of the squad cars was in need of a radar setup, said Police Chief Brian Payne.

The St. Cloud Police Department and the Becker Sheriff’s Department in Detroit Lakes were the other two recipients in the same region. Six other departments from other regions also were given the radar equipment.

Princeton was among approximately 120 departments who submitted applications for the award. Those departments participated in the stepped up Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) enforcement during the Labor Day weekend in 2011.

The Princeton PD is currently a partner in a TZD grant effort with the Sherburne County Sheriff’s office and the police departments in Elk River, Big Lake and Becker. Officers are paid through the grant to enforce laws on speeding, impaired driving, seat belts and distracted driving in the cities beyond the one they are in. For example, Princeton officers can spend time patrolling in Elk River or along Highway 169 in Sherburne and officers from the other listed departments can sometimes be up in the Princeton area.

Officers are paid for this patrol through the grant and their wages during that time are at an overtime rate, according to Kummrow.

The only cost to the cities who employ these officers is the use of the squad cars, Kummrow said.