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Apr 26, 2013 9:13 PM by Eric Ross

Police investing in laser guns to catch speeders

Law enforcement agencies across the country are investing in laser technology to crack down on speeders.

It's a great tool for police, but not so great for you. Some will argue getting out of a laser ticket is next to impossible.

Traditional radar technology has been around for decades. You may have also seen the handheld radar guns used by motorcycle officers on the interstate.

People fly up and down I-25 every day, often topping speeds in excess of 80 mph. If you're one of them, you may have gotten a break, even if there's an officer running radar to clock speeds.

"When officers are shooting radar at you, it goes out in a cone form and it can pick up many objects in that cone," attorney Tim Bussey said. "The farther away, the more objects it picks up."

Radar sends out doppler waves that bounce off moving objects to get a speed reading. If you're traveling in a group or next to larger vehicles like a semi truck, it can be difficult to get an accurate speed. That's where laser technology comes into play.

"It just makes it easier to pinpoint certain vehicles with the laser," Officer Jere Orvin said. "You can put the beam right on the driver and it makes it easy to catch that violator."

Laser guns can only clock one vehicle at a time, usually using your license plate or headlight as a target.

"It's a very narrow beam," Orvin said. "It's only three feet wide at 1,000 feet."

At the same distance for radar, the doppler cone is roughly 200-300 feet wide----creating a greater chance for error.

"The arguments against radar is that it can detect more than one vehicle, especially when it's farther away," Bussey said. "It may be picking up a higher profile vehicle such as a semi as opposed to your car."

When it comes time for court, fighting a laser ticket may be a bit harder to explain since the officer targeted your specific vehicle.

Laser technology is extremely expensive. Each laser gun can run anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000.

The Colorado Springs Police Department currently has 12 laser guns in operation.

 

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