Laser targets drivers
New technology allows law to pick speeding vehicles out of crowd
February 14, 2008
BY SHANNON LIVICK | Journal Staff Writer
Watch out speeders; there's a new radar in town.
SGT. MATT OZANIC of the Colorado State Patrol looks at a laser speed measuring instrument Tuesday morning at the Cortez Police Department.
Officers with the Cortez Police Department spent Tuesday learning how to use a new Laser Speed Measuring Instrument the department recently purchased.
"With this, you can pick out an individual car," Lance Martin, of Laser Technology Inc., said while holding up the new device.
The laser will allow officers to more accurately pick out a vehicle on the road to determine its speed. Radar guns are good at measuring speeds, but on crowded streets officers can't single out a vehicle, Martin said.
Martin taught an all-day class Tuesday for officers so they can learn how to use the Laser Technology device.
Radar guns have a wide beam, Martin said.
The police department's new laser device has a 3-foot-wide beam.
The device can be used at crime scenes to map and measure evidence, and it can be used at accident scenes.
"You can generate a three-dimensional drawing," Martin said.
Police hope to use it to slow drivers down on Main Street, when they kick off Operation Slow Down in the spring.
Over the years, the department has received many complaints about speeding in downtown Cortez, where the speed limit is 25 mph, said Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane.
"We get more complaints about Main Street than anywhere else," Lane said.
Law enforcement officials will conduct Operation Slow Down in conjunction with Operation Crosswalk. In an Operation Crosswalk conducted last year, police officers pulled over anyone who didn't stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Lane said the department plans to do that again this year.
With the radar guns, officers couldn't isolate one vehicle on a four-lane, busy street like Main.
"With a regular radar, it hits one vehicle and bounces back and isn't easy to do on a four-lane highway," Lane said.
The $5,000 laser device was purchased with money pooled together from the Patrol and Detective Division of the Police Department
"It's a multiple use gun," Lane said.
Lane said the department plans to buy another one of the laser devices soon. The Colorado State Patrol has a similar device, but it is mainly used in Durango.
Reach Shannon Livick at email@example.com.