Deputy sheriffs have a new tool to help keep Floyd County roads safer.
The sheriff’s office recent received a LIDAR laser speed radar gun through the Iowa special Traffic Enforcement Program (sTEP). The gun is valued at about $3,000.
Deputy David Kelley, sTEP coordinator, said the gun is more accurate and offers several features compared to traditional radar units.
“You put the (laser) dot right on the vehicle and it locks onto the vehicle,” Kelley explained.
Traditional radar units emit a cone-shaped sound wave to calculate speed. In groups, Kelley said, the radar will register the speed of the vehicle moving fastest.
With the LIDAR gun, Kelley said, cars can be singled out of traveling packs.
“You can pick one out right in the middle,” he said.
The sheriff’s office has not yet begun to use the LIDAR gun, Kelley said. First, he and the department’s eight other deputies and the sheriff will be trained in using the piece of equipment.
“It’s a more advanced piece of equipment,” Kelley said.
Training is also required before law enforcment officers are allowed to use traditional radar units, Kelley said.
Advancements in sound-based radar allow it to be used stationary or while the vehicle in which it is installed is moving.
Those units typically sell for about $1,500, Kelley said.
In addition to radar devices, Kelley said sTEP funds are also available for overtime pay and other equipment for traffic enforcement, such as personal breath tests.
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