Pointing a laser at police is illegal, dangerous

Pointing a laser at police is illegal, dangerous

LAWTON, Okla._Come late December, you could be fined or get jail time for pointing a laser at a law enforcement officer.

That's after the Lawton City Council approved an ordinance that makes pointing a laser at a police officer illegal Tuesday night. If you are caught, you could get a fine of up to $100. If you get caught a second time, you could end up in jail. City Council took the action Tuesday night to bring city code in line with the Oklahoma Laser Safety Act.

Lawton police say it is dangerous to put a laser on an officer. Their first thought is someone has a gun, and they are aiming to shoot and possibly kill. Some people do point the lasers as a joke, but the police are trained to take it seriously.

Lieutenant Darrell Southerland says he has seen situations where lasers have been pointed at him and his fellow officers, and they have been attached to guns aimed right at them.

"It's almost like they were waiting for us to get by so they could point it at the back of us and we wouldn't see it," said Southerland. "You know, who knows, they could've shot but they didn't."

Southerland says the situation could be worse if there was only the laser with no gun.

"That's the last thing we want to do is to see a kid point a laser,  and an officer think it's gun and wind up shooting someone when it's actually not a gun," said Southerland.

Officers are trained to think a gun is behind that laser because most guns and even Tasers now come with built in lasers pointers. This ordinance does not just include Lawton police officers. It includes parole officers, correctional officer and even judges.

Southerland says it is more about keeping officers out on the streets safe.

"Especially when you've got so many officers getting shot right now, and the threats against officers," said Southerland. "That's the first thing they are going to think of is their safety and their officer's safety."

While this ordinance does reflect the state law, it does not include what was added to the Laser Safety Act this year, which makes it illegal to point lasers at any aircraft.