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 September 10, 2010


Police Department gets instruction to use laser equipment to monitor vehicles

Story & photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

Eight Fort McCoy police officers attended a traffic laser operation class to learn about the technology that is scheduled to be implemented at Fort McCoy in the near future to support and enhance traffic safety.

PHOTO: Members of the Fort McCoy Police Department use laser equipment, under the guidance  of Lt. Chris Neuman (center), to monitor vehicles traveling on State Highway 21. Photo by Rob Schuette
Members of the Fort McCoy Police Department use laser equipment, under the guidance of Lt. Chris Neuman (center), to monitor vehicles traveling on State Highway 21.

Wisconsin State Patrol Academy Executive Officer Lt. Chris Neuman taught the class, which meets the requirements of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the State of Wisconsin. Neuman is a certified instructor through the University of North Florida Institute of Police Technology and Management. He teaches courses about the technology on request throughout the country.

“This technology only can be used in a stationary vehicle or mode to measure distances and speeds of target vehicles,” Neuman said. The laser is very accurate and can be used in traffic crash investigations to allow more rapid and safer clearance of a scene by replacing a tape measure to calculate distances, Neuman added.

Fort McCoy Police Department Patrol Operations Officer Maj. Robert Nordby said the main purpose of the training is to give the police department another tool to reduce driver speed, and improve overall traffic safety.

Fort McCoy police officers currently use radar to monitor speed. Nordby said radar use is not as effective as laser equipment in detecting speeding in specific vehicles in a high-traffic, multi-vehicle situation, such as vehicles passing through troop areas or troops in formation.

“The laser will let us target specific vehicles,” Nordby said. “It also shows the community that we have an active, visible police department working to ensure safety. This will help us get the speed of vehicles down.”

In addition to helping monitor the speed of vehicles, the new technology also can provide police officers with an additional tool to measure distances. Nordby said this would be particularly helpful, for example, in measuring the size of loads on oversize vehicles coming through the gates, and help officers tell these drivers the best route to take to ensure proper clearances.

Nordby and Neuman said the two agencies are working to share knowledge and specific skills/expertise and reduce travel time and costs for training.

“We’re fortunate to have an agency like this at Fort McCoy,” Nordby said. “We can do more with less by working together.”
Fort McCoy police officers have received taser training from academy personnel and may work together on other training, such as the canine program, he said.

Training on the use of the lasers will be ongoing, Nordby said. The police department will continue to pursue new equipment and technology as it becomes available to enhance traffic safety at the installation.

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