Laser pointers interfering with Spokane County Air One


by Katie Utehs &

Posted on August 8, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 8 at 6:07 PM

SPOKANE-- Spokane County Deputies say they're having to call off Air One searches because people are shining lasers at their helicopter.

Officials say laser pointers are interfering with search and rescue missions.

Sergeant Dave Ellis oversees Air One and says lasers are coming between the crew and the people they're trying to help.

Laser strikes from the ground are disabling Air One. When a laser is pointed at the window it washes out the entire cockpit.

MedStar and Fairchild Airforce Base have had problems too.

Air One alone was targeted five times last month.

Officials say the laser strike got so bad that the air crew had to call off a rescue and go into a different area.   

Officials don't know who's doing it, but says it needs to stop. The fine can be up to $11,000 and you could face jail time.

Deputies have arrested people in past for laser strikes.

Air One pilots are volunteers.