Lawmen given new tools
by Bryan Stewart
13 hrs ago | 369 views | 0 | 4 | |

Sgt. Lee Bailey tests a new LiDAR gun Tuesday morning. The Rockingham Police Department purchased it with grant money awarded by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.


There is some bad news for speeders, drunk drivers and anyone else who doesn’t want to be caught on camera.

New equipment purchased by the Rockingham Police Department will help authorities in nabbing suspects, clocking speeders and give officers a tech savvy edge.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Program awarded the Rockingham Police Department with two grants totaling $30,000 to go towards the upgrading equipment. The city doesn’t have to match the funds.

“A lot of this is fairly new technology,” Maj. Billy Kelly with the Rockingham Police Department and liaison with the GHSP said.

New digital in-car video equipment replaces old VHS equipment and will be installed in every patrol car.

“The cameras are on the higher end, as far as cameras go,” said Police Chief Robert Voorhees.

Overall, the equipment has the ability to track things like speed, voice, video and when sirens and lights are used.

“(The grants) came from the accumulation of points for participating in programs and events with the Governor’s Highway Safety Program,” Voorhees said.

The point system rewards departments that participate in DWI checkpoints.

The Rockingham Police Department earned 5,000 points, according to Kelly.

A new trailer purchased with a $20,000 equipment grant will be outfitted for use as a mobile DWI unit.

“We should be able to hook up, go out and set-up a DWI checkpoint,” Kelly said.

According to Voorhees and Kelly, the trailer will be stocked with basics like flashlights, vests and cones. Additionally, they plan to have articulating light towers and equipment for checking blood alcohol levels.

The trailer can also be used to for display purposes at events in which the GHSP and the RPD show informational videos and simulations.

With the money, the department also purchased a single LiDAR gun, or Light Detection and Ranging gun, which uses laser technology to clock speeds at greater distances unlike RADAR guns, which emit shorter radio waves.

At $3,000, the benefits of the LiDAR, according to Kelly, are more accurate and specific readings at greater distances.

For instance, the LiDAR can be used from on top of a bridge and clock vehicles, Kelly explained. Using non-visible light, the LiDAR bounces light off of an object and back to the gun.

Officers from the Rockingham Police Department will spend today and Thursday with the Laurinburg Police Department for specialized training with the LiDAR gun.

Staff writer Bryan Stewart can be reached at 997-3111 ext. 15 or by e-mail at