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Two men arrested after laser light illuminated police helicopter

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
Issue 29, Volume 18.

TEMECULA -While assisting officers on the ground in an unrelated investigation, the Sheriff's Department helicopter was illuminated by a laser light from a nearby single-family residence. Over the course of several minutes, the helicopter was deliberately illuminated numerous times. The narrow beam of light discharged by a handheld laser expands at it travels and when directed at aircraft can cause severe difficulty with piloting the aircraft and in some cases cause the pilot to suffer temporary blindness.

Deputies quickly located the Advertisement
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residence and arrested Abrahim Khan, age 20 and Shaun Khan, age 18. Both men were booked into the Southwest Jail.

Intentionally discharging (aiming) a laser at an aircraft, a violation of California Penal Code section 247.5, is a serious crime that could result in calamity for the occupants of the aircraft. The Riverside Sheriff's Department aggressively and successfully investigates these incidents whenever reported. Any person(s) committing these crimes can be sentenced to as much as three years in a state prison.



Comment Profile ImageReality Checker
Comment #1 | Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm
Law Enforcement have new and powerful tools at their disposal to GPS locate, identify the laser, and spot and track suspects from the air. It's called a Laser Event Recorder. The Laser Event Recorder not only takes a picture of the attack and logs where it came from using GPS, but also analyses the wavelength of the laser being used. It can also warn the police if the laser is powerful enough or close enough to cause physical damage to the eyes.This can be compared with the specifications of the device used in the attack, providing vital evidence. It's a little bit like matching a bullet to a gun.
The Police helicopter has two large screens, one showing the image from the aircraft's camera, the other a moving map.
The camera uses thermal imaging to clearly show people and warm objects standing in yards or on open ground. Even when the warm laser pointer is thrown into a bush it can often be seen from the air.
The Police can zoom in to show a glowing image of an offender, and then look at the moving map, where a cursor shows the spot on which the camera is focused. The "offender" outline appears full screen. The Police watch if he tries to throw the pointer away.
Guided by the Police helicopter, the ground officers with K-9's are called in and an arrest made. They easily find the suspect and the laser. The suspect may try to claim it hasn't been used, but it is still warm, and the police have the evidence (measurements of its wavelength) from the Laser Event Recorder that proves it was the offending article. Don't go pointing lasers at aircraft. The Police will bust you!

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