Common Police Radar Guns

Written by chandra anderson
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Common Police Radar Guns
Police officers routinely use radar guns to catch speeders. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

If you have been stopped by a police officer for speeding, there is a good chance your speed was recorded by a radar gun. These electronic devices have been in use by law enforcement since the end of World War II.

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A police radar gun emits an electromagnetic pulse that bounces off the oncoming vehicle it is aimed at. This reflection induces a very slight frequency shift, called Doppler Shift. The shift is analysed to determine the speed of the vehicle, and the speed is displayed on the device's screen.

Stalker Radar Guns

The Stalker brand of radar gun has been manufactured since 1977. In 2011, the Stalker was the No. 1 selling brand of radar gun in the United States and worldwide. In addition to law enforcement, broadcast companies that cover sports use the devices at events such as Wimbledon tennis, the Olympics and the World Series. In short, the devices are precisely built and calibrated to record the speed of almost everything that moves. Innovative technology allows the Stalker DSR radar gun to discern whether an object is moving toward, or away from, the police vehicle. This allows the operator to pinpoint specific lanes of traffic to monitor.

Genesis Radar Guns

The Genesis brand of radar gun is manufactured by Decatur Electronics, an Arizona-based company yjat has been in business since 1955. Its first product, the Muniquip, was a speed timer. The company soon branched out into radar and in 1991 it introduced the industry standard for dash-mounted radar, the Genesis I. Shortly thereafter, the Genesis II was unveiled. As with all other radar guns, the Genesis I and II use electromagnetic pulses to measure the speed of vehicles from a fixed position. The Genesis models also can determine the direction of a vehicle's movement. The company diversified its product line to include dash-mounted video cameras for squad cars in 2000.

Accuracy Issues

A common misconception is that radar guns are infallible. In 1994, the National Highway Safety Administration released a revised set of standards for ensuring the accuracy of radar guns and correct training of police officers. This was in response to an early 1990s report on the inaccuracy of radar guns by the National Institute of Scientific Standards. Despite these measures, it is estimated that in 2011 as many as 20 per cent of all traffic tickets, issued due to radar readings, are incorrect. These inconsistencies are due to mechanical failure or operator error. Police agencies and radar gun manufacturers continue to work toward improving the accuracy of the devices, through officer training and design enhancements on the equipment.

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