Q: I was stopped and the officer said I was speeding. He said his radar showed that I was going 10 miles over the speed limit. I asked him if I could look at the radar and he said I couldn’t. Is this legal?
A: The officer does not have to show the violator the radar instrument. The radar instrument is only a tool for confirming the officer’s opinion that a person is speeding. It is not the sole proof that the person is speeding.
Officers using radar are trained in how to identify a vehicle’s speed without using the radar instrument. Once the officer believes he knows the vehicle’s speed, the officer may then use the radar to confirm or deny his original speed estimate of the vehicle.
Most officers do not usually show violators the radar instrument for one of more of the following three reasons:
1. Officers do not want the violator to actually enter their patrol unit. This is their office and allowing someone into the vehicle is reserved for the officer, passengers, and people under arrest.
2. Officers do not want to give the offender the opportunity to damage or destroy the radar instrument or any other items in the patrol unit.
3. Historically, violators that were allowed to look at the radar instrument became confrontational as to the operations, accuracy, etc. of the instrument. Officers must remain alert and confrontations can prevent officers from observing danger signs by offenders, which have been known to result in officers being injured by angry offenders.
There is no department policy requiring that an officer show the violator the radar instrument. Ultimately, the officer makes the decision as to whether a violator is allowed to look at the radar instrument.