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KCPD concerned about laser pointers affecting helicopter

Posted: 12:58 PM, Jun 01, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-01 17:58:38Z

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Police are warning people of the dangers laser pointers can have on aircraft and pilots. 

It was last month that someone pointed a laser at a pilot flying the KCPD helicopter at night. 

Sgt. Jake Becchina said the laser hit the pilot directly in the eye. After the pilot put on night vision goggles, he was able to safely recover the helicopter. 

Police arrested a Kansas City woman after using the GPS in the helicopter to pin point where the laser was coming from. 

Becchina said the woman is expected to be charged federally. 

KCPD wants to remind people to take this seriously as it is a federal offense to point a laser at an aircraft. It's also extremely dangerous and can disorient a pilot, endangering the flight, and everyone onboard. 

"If a single-pilot aircraft is affected by a laser, the pilot can become disoriented and that can cause a danger to the flight via helicopter or a small aircraft or even a large aircraft approaching or departing from one of our airports here in the area," said Becchina. 

In 2017, in Kansas City alone, there were 110 cases of people pointing lasers at aircraft. 

"If you look at 2015-2017, there are approximately 7,000 cases nationwide per year," said Thomas Relford, assistant special agent for the FBI Kansas City. 

Kansas City Police said the pilot flying the KCPD helicopter last month had a temporary deficiency in his vision and is currently recovering. 

The pilot is expected to return and fly again.