3 On Your Side

UPDATE: Legislator wants to crack down on HOAs using radar guns

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A new bill would outlaw HOAs from using radar guns to enforce speed limits and issuing tickets to homeowners. (Source: 3TV) A new bill would outlaw HOAs from using radar guns to enforce speed limits and issuing tickets to homeowners. (Source: 3TV)
Bernie Van Emden couldn't believe he was busted for speeding by his HOA. (Source: 3TV) Bernie Van Emden couldn't believe he was busted for speeding by his HOA. (Source: 3TV)
Van Emden had to pay a fine for going 2 miles over the speed limit. (Source: 3TV) Van Emden had to pay a fine for going 2 miles over the speed limit. (Source: 3TV)
Rep. Kelly Townsend is introducing House Bill 2540 to regulate the issue. (Source: 3TV) Rep. Kelly Townsend is introducing House Bill 2540 to regulate the issue. (Source: 3TV)
The head of the HOA's "Patrol Office" said his crew has issued hundreds of tickets. (Source: 3TV) The head of the HOA's "Patrol Office" said his crew has issued hundreds of tickets. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Arizona State Rep. Kelly Townsend wants a new state law on the books. And, it's all because of a 3 On Your Side report she came across.

“So, I read the story and I was embarrassed. I was like, 'Are you kidding me?' We're doing that?'" Townsend said.

She's talking about homeowners associations that are using handheld radar guns to enforce speed limits within their community.

In a previous 3 On Your Side report, Bernie Van Emden told us he was shocked when his own HOA sent him a notice and pictures saying it busted him for driving 2 miles an hour over the posted speed limit.

"When you got that letter from the HOA, what did you think?" 3 On Your Side asked Van Emden.

"I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life," he replied.

[READ MORE: Can your HOA issue you a speeding ticket?]

In Van Emden’s community, it's not uniformed police officers running radar. Instead, it's homeowners who are with the HOA's so-called Patrol Office. They're running radar and sending out fines to their own neighbors like Van Emden. The fines do not affect your driver’s license and are simply an HOA fine.

So, 3 On Your Side went to the Patrol Office for Van Emden’s HOA. Here, we spoke with James Curcio, the Patrol Office’s director. He told 3 On Your Side what they're doing is legal, and surprisingly, he's right.

“How many citations do you think you've issued?" Harper asked. “Is it dozens or hundreds?"

“Well, it’s hard to say,” Curcio replied. “But, I’d say hundreds.”

Rep. Towsend says the practice is ridiculous.

"To have your neighbor 'Bob' pull out a radar gun and clock you going 2 miles an hour over and slapping you with a $50 fine is not acceptable," she said.

So, as a result, Rep. Townsend is introducing House Bill 2540 to regulate the issue.

The legislation states the "... radar unit should be properly calibrated by a licensed facility..." to ensure the device is accurate before issuing fines.

It also says radar operators should have at least 10 hours of training using a radar gun. As of now, it's unclear what, if any, training is given.

And finally, Townsend's bill says an HOA won't be able to issue a speeding fine unless a homeowner is driving "...at least 10 miles an hour above the posted speed limit." 

“Do you think 10 miles per hour is the perfect threshold?” Harper asked.

“Well, we'll start there and see where we get. But, I think 10 mph is good," she replied.

And, as far as any resistance from other lawmakers, Rep. Townsend says there really hasn't been any and believes her bill has a good shot at becoming a state law.

"The pushback that I have had isn't that we should not do this bill. It's that we should outlaw these (radar guns) completely because HOA neighbors should not be in charge of law enforcement."

Of course, 3 On Your Side will stay on top of the bill. We’ll monitor it and let you know if it sails through or if it’s eventually killed.

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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