The Virginia House of Delegates is widely regarded as an ardent supporter of law and order, but today it ignored the advice of the state police and voted to sanction the now banned "fuzz buster."
The "Fuzz buster" is so named for its reputed capability of thwarting radar equipped officers of the law intent on arresting speeders. It is an automobile-mounted electronic device that senses the presence of radar and warns the speeding motorist to slow down.
Its existence is permitted in many states, but banned in Virginia. In fact, Virginia law officers are authorized to confiscate any fuzz buster they find.
Del. Theodore V. Morrison (D-Newsport News) told the House the buster ban has become an embarrassment to the commonwealth. Many law abiding citizens in other states have been arrested and detained for hours while police go through the motions of search and seizure to deprive them of their electronic defense, Morrison said.
Morrison acknowledged that a state police official had urged the committee on Roads and Internal Navigation not to put the buster back in business in Virginia, but suggested that the official did not fully appreciate the problems the ban has caused officers in the field and lawyers in courts.
Repeal of the ban had bipartisan support. Del. Clinton Miller (R-Woodstock), former prosecutor of Shenandoah County and an official of proven law and order leanings, had this to say:
"Suppose a nice, law abiding man and his wife from Texas drive into Virginia with their fuzz buster mounted in their car and stop somewhere to eat. Now suppose this nice law abiding man, this nice family man, this nice Christian man looks out and sees someone inside his car. He will say to his wife, 'My gosh! Some one's stealing the car," He will run out to stop a thief, but he will find a police officer acting under his legal right to rip off the man's fuzz buster."
Del. Franklin M. Slyaton (D-South Boston) even said the fuzz buster is impotent against "sophisticated" state police radar and therefore not worthy of banning.
There followed an inconclusive debate over the relative capabilities of state police radar and fuzz busters that was eventually cut short by Del. George W. Grayson (D-Williamsburg) who said he had "learned all I want to know" on the subject.
The return of the fuzz buster was endorsed on a voice vote. The bill will come back up for a final vote on Monday and then go to the State Senate.