Weather Forecast


Silver Bay Police awarded LiDAR speed gun

The Silver Bay Police Department received a LiDAR speed gun from the Office of Traffic Safety at Monday night's city council meeting. The new enforcement tool was awarded in recognition of the department's outstanding work during May's seatbelt enforcement mobilization efforts. Pictured is Officer Chad Streiff who accepted the award in behalf of the SBPD. Photo by Ken Vogel

At the city council meeting on Nov. 4, the Silver Bay Police Department was recognized as one of the region's top law enforcement agencies of its size for its efforts in the Toward Zero Deaths campaign.

During the month of May, the Department of Public Safety sponsored a seat belt enforcement mobilization in northeastern Minnesota and for its outstanding efforts, Frank Scherf of the Office of Traffic Safety, a division of the Department of Public Safety, presented the SBPD with a Light Detection And Ranging ( LiDAR) speed gun. Officer Chad Streiff accepted the new apparatus on behalf of Silver Bay's department.

"The SBPD did an outstanding job," Scherf said.

"I am proud of the work these officers did," said Silver Bay Police Chief Mitch Dow.

The LiDAR speed gun is a handheld unit that operates by transmitting near-infrared light laser pulses rather than Doppler radar shifts to measure speed. The unit can identify a single vehicle in group of vehicles due to the small cone of the laser pulse. It can also clock a target well in excess of 1000 feet.

According to Scherf the SBPD chose the gun from among three options which also included new lighting equipment for its squad cars and a field preliminary breath tester.

The TZD initiative began in 2003 after statistical data found that four primary behaviors are the cause of most of the traffic death--driving under the influence, speeding, distracted driving and failure to wearing a seat belt.

At that time a goal was set to reduce motor vehicle deaths to no more than 350 annual deaths by 2014.

"In 2011 the number of deaths had decreased to 368, a 44% reduction," said Scherf. He added that the longer motorcycle season of 2012 contributed to a rise in the death toll to 380, but the years of 2011 and 2012 marked the first time since 1944 that traffic deaths in Minnesota totaled fewer than 400.