Precision in measurement is very important in most fields of human endeavour and any measurement is only as good as the measuring device. Precision ensures that results are consistent and repeatable. This reliability is crucial in industries such as healthcare, where the accurate dosage of medication can mean the difference between life and death, or in aviation, where minute discrepancies in measurements can lead to catastrophic failures.
Precise measurement is equally important in construction, where poor measurement can lead to structural failures or costly delays. And of course, it’s very important in the justice system where inaccurate measurement can lead to wrongful convictions. Which brings us to speed enforcement. But first, something I learned from my dad.
When my father dropped a measuring tape, he would throw it out. This seems like an extreme step, but his reasoning was that if the hook was bent 1/32nd of an inch, every cut he made would be inaccurate. And of course, once it’s been dropped you simply can’t be sure whether the hook is bent ever so slightly.
What about police LASER speed devices?
The manufacturers of police LASER speed devices are concerned about the damage that may occur when the devices are handled roughly, dropped or subject to vibration. Like the hook on a measuring tape, it may not be apparent to the users that the results displayed are inaccurate. An officer may assume that a LASER device is precise just because it appears to be working. But if something is not quite right because the device has been dropped, would they ever know?
Just our secret
Police officers drop things and then hide the fact from those who might punish them. We’re sorry to say, this is just a fact. Not always, but often enough that we can say we know about it first-hand. If you’re a police officer and you drop the brand-new LASER gun, do you report it to your superiors or do you carefully put it back in the case and hope nobody finds out?
The answer is obvious. It’s human nature. We’re all concerned about the negative repercussions for the mistakes we make.
Interestingly, the manufacturers of LASER police speed devices warn in their manuals not to place the devices in the trunk of a police car, not to place or transport them in the saddle bags of a police motorcycle and not to drop them, for example, onto the seat of a police car. We know, however, that these are all regular things that take place in the life of a police LASER device.
Informed Decision Making
Police officers are instructed to use the LASER device to collect evidence that would corroborate their evidence that any subject driver committed the offence of exceeding the speed limit. If a LASER has been dropped or shaken, there is a concern that the officer cannot make a properly informed decision regarding whether to take enforcement action.
As we can never know the true history of the device because police officers fail to disclose when a device has been improperly stored, transported or rough-handled, one simply cannot assume that there is precision in measurement using police LASER speed devices.
Let us know if you ever observed a police officer rough handling a speed measuring device. We like to hear these stories.
If you have just received a speeding ticket, contact us right away. We defend tickets everywhere in BC and we’d be happy to talk to you about your ticket.