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RCMP learn with 'laser speed'

Cst. Lise Marion has a keen eye for the speed estimation of vehicles, thanks to 10 years of hands on work with a laser speed detection device.

Now she is lending her expertise to other RCMP members, who are looking to become a laser operator.

"It depends on which vehicles you are looking at because some vehicles come at you and you think they are doing (sic) faster than they are," she says. " So it is just a matter of getting your eye used to say seeing 'yes that is a pick up truck and he is actually doing the speed limit', it just looks like he is going faster."

The laser devices have been in operation since the 1990's, but not every RCMP officer is proficient in using one, which is why an extracurricular course was held at the West Kelowna detachment for those wanting to extend their knowledge.

"It's the fact that we now have more and more of these devices available to us both as traffic services and as general duty, so it is important to have the training available so members can use the devices," says Cst. Steve Holmes who joined Cst. Marion in facilitating the course.

The 11 students who attended the day long course are both long term and newly recruited members.

A laser can be run by a single officer, and can be set up anywhere within a particular zone says Holmes.

"It can also be run in cooperation with other members, they can take turns using it or they can do a call type operation where one member is using the laser and calling out the speeds of particular vehicles for other members to flag down and give the necessary violation ticket to."

A key component of the course is for members to become proficient in visual estimations, which will be a key component of evidence during court proceedings.

"What we want to do is ensure that these members are developing a competency in respect to visually estimating speeds that is then confirmed with the use of the laser."

Everyone who participated in the laser operations course made the grade according to Holmes.

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