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Police geared up with new device to stop speeders

April 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police officers are cracking down on speeding motorists, and they're using a new high-tech device to catch drivers in the act.

The new equipment, called LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging), can detect the speed of a singular target. The previous technology cast a broader net and gauged the speeds of multiple vehicles, leaving it up to the officer to determine which specific car was speeding.

The LIDAR has a range of about 3,000 feet, with an optimal operation range of about 1,000 feet. The LIDAR comes in the form of goggles and guns. In Sherman Oaks alone, Los Angeles police handed out 67 speeding tickets on Thursday.

Police say they hope the new technology will prevent fatal speed-related deaths. However, some drivers feel there may be another motive behind the stepped-up enforcement.

"The city has been getting low on funds, and the best way they can recoup their money is to step up their tickets, almost like a militant group of police officers that are just stopping people," said Toluca Lake resident Anthony Chase.

To others, the increased patrol presence is a welcomed sight.

"Yeah we have a deficit problem, but we also have a death problem. People are getting hurt, killed, and I'm glad they're out here," said a Studio City resident Debbie Smith.

Officers said they've stepped up their presence in Sherman Oaks ever since October, when 16-year-old runner Conor Lynch was struck and killed by a car while jogging.

Officers say the goal of their speeding crackdown is to avert all unnecessary deaths.

"Sometimes those lives don't want to be saved. We'd rather have them be mad at us and alive than dead and not mad at us," said LAPD Officer Troy Williams.

Williams said motorists should expect stepped-up patrols along Riverside Drive and Woodman Avenue in the San Fernando Valley near Notre Dame High School, in addition to Sherman Oaks.