Speeders beware of laser Monday, 20 October 2008 By Jon Tatting

Hey, motorists: like to think you can escape a cop’s radar system as you speed along local roadways?

If yes, then think again.

Thanks to federal fund backing, the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office has a new toy called the ProLaser III, a $3,000 speed detector device the office earned through its good work in protecting, serving the community.

Above, Deputy Chris Caulk targets South Main Street traffic with the sheriff department's new ProLaser III, a batter-operated laser device that is more accurate and precise than traditional radar. Below, Caulk stops a speeder after the motorist had been clocked going 44 mph in a 30 zone.

The battery-operated device, via an advanced optics design, provides a quicker and more precise and accurate target on speeding motorists. Its laser beam is only 3 feet wide at a range of 1,000 feet or more.

Weighing 3 pounds, ProLaser III minimizes the range-limiting effects of poor weather conditions, such as rain and snow, even when aiming through glass or a windshield.

County deputy Chris Caulk last week demonstrated the department’s new laser gun in the Cambridge area. Looking through its view finder, he placed the colored dot on vehicles’ grills and was able to determine their exact speed and distance from where he was positioned.

For the most part, motorists kept to the posted speed limits. But one vehicle, clocked at going 44 mph in a 30 zone on South Main Street, was pulled over.

Caulk only gave a warning to the speeding motorist, yet an in-squad database can track such stops so a ticket may likely be the result next time. However, the deputy noted, tickets can be given at any time to any one when speeds exceed the limits.

It’s a matter of traffic safety.

Emphasis on education

Prior to the announcement and demonstration of the ProLaser III, Caulk and Bob O’Brien, a law enforcement liaison with the Minnesota DPS/office of traffic safety, talked about trends and safety campaigns on the road.

Just last year, Isanti County experienced five fatal crashes, 170 injury crashes and 255 property damage crashes totalling 430 traffic incidents. This was down 103 total incidents from 2005, O’Brien presented with optimism.

Pictured: An inside look of a typical deputy's squad car. As a K-9 officer, Caulk is always accompanied by canine partner Nike, who sits in the back. (photos by Jon Tatting)

Yet, the battle continues for law enforcement through educating the public on wearing seat belts, decreasing speeds, avoiding drunk driving and being overall attentive behind the wheel.

Law enforcement expects to launch seat belt and impaired driving campaigns soon and in time for the holidays on local as well as roads nation-wide.

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