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Aircraft increasingly put in danger by laser pointers

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Laser pointer law breakers can be hard to catch and that might lead to an increase of incidents with aircrafts.

Under Arizona law, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor to aim a laser pointer at an airplane. If a pilot’s vision is impacted the charges could be much more serious.

Pilots, however, continue to encounter incidents of laser pointers hitting their aircrafts. There were two incidents last week at Sky Harbor.

“For the law enforcement to catch that person you have to be able to prove that individual, the one you believe is responsible, possessed that tool which in this case is a laser pointer and used in a manner at the time of the occurrence,” Paul Penzone, former Phoenix Police Sergeant said.

Penzone explained the nature of laser pointer crimes makes it difficult to catch and convict those responsible. He said while police need to keep cracking down on laser pointer crimes, the public needs to realize the danger behind what some think is just a prank.

“You are negatively impacting or potentially impacting the lives of others and you don’t want to be the person on the plane when someone’s blinding your pilot so don’t be the person who is blinding the pilot for someone else that’s flying,” he said. “It is just irresponsible.”