Ossining (NY) Police Dept. Officer Peter Carpenter uses an LTI speed laser to target speeding motorists. Recently, Officer Carpenter reveals, his department used the LTI laser to nab speeding motorists, and wrote 40 tickets in two hours.
For pinpoint accuracy at catching speeding motorists and issuing tickets, lidar – short for light detection and ranging—is unbeatable. That's the feeling of the Ossining, New York Police Department, which, like so many law enforcement agencies today, has adopted laser speed detectors over the once coveted radar method.
Until about 15 years ago, the Ossining PD used radar (which is radio detection and ranging) as its only speed enforcement tool. Radar uses radio waves to locate moving or fixed objects. When applied for tracking the speed of vehicles, the radar beam is usually 12 feet wide and 100 feet long. Radar presented Ossining PD with too many limitations as traffic increased along with speedsters, so the department purchased two of the LTI 20-20- Marksman speed lasers. This particular model has since been replaced by the LTI UltraLyte series, and Ossining PD now uses both.
"The trouble with radar is that the beam that it emits is going to get the entire roadway, the sidewalk and everything else," notes Ossining Police Officer Peter Carpenter. "So, you really have to rely on your speed estimation to get an accurate speed on a vehicle." Officer Carpenter adds that the radar system was bulky and had to be mounted to a patrol car window.
Officer Carpenter has found the LTI UltraLyte to be much more exact than radar, especially considering the system’s 500- to 1000-foot beam shot, with a diameter of one to three feet. "The laser is very accurate for pinpointing the actual car targeted," Carpenter reveals. "And it's instantaneous! Even if the laser is aimed at a car in traffic, so long as you have a clear line of sight for the front of the car you can still get a speed on that car."
Ossining PD uses the Ultra-Lyte laser for ranging, as well, to get exact distances. In fact, the department recently had to write a village ordinance for reducing speed limits around schools. The Ultra-Lyte laser was successfully used to shoot ranges within these speed zones. Officer Carpenter cites several other aspects that he and fellow officers like about the Ultra-Lyte laser: portability, which allows the laser to fit snugly into motorcycle saddlebags; light weight; battery power (requiring only two "C" batteries); and a compact design, enabling officers to stay hidden when shooting motorists with the laser. Radar is a thing of the past as a speed enforcement tool in the Ossining PD. "The LTI lasers are now king of the roads," says Officer Carpenter.