Boise Police Department
News Release

William L. Bones
Chief of Police

Contact: BPD Media Relations Office


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Officers ask for public's help in finding person who pointed a laser at a LifeFlight helicopter

09-14-11 Officers ask for public's help in finding person who pointed a laser at a LifeFlight helicopter

    Boise, Sept. 14, 2011 - Boise Police join the Transportation Safety Administration in asking the public's help in finding whoever pointed a green laser light at a LifeFlight helicopter carrying a patient Monday night. Lasers can be distracting to the point of being dangerous for pilots and flight crews.

    Occurred Monday night from Glenwood & State: The LifeFlight crew had a patient in the helicopter and was en route to the downtown Boise hospital when the laser incident occurred Monday night, Sept. 12 at. 8:53 p.m. However, a nurse on the LifeFlight helicopter could see the green laser coming from a vehicle in or near the intersection of Glenwood & State.

    Federal Crime, Penalties Severe: Shining a laser into an aircraft is a federal crime. Fines can reach up to $25,000. A conviction on federal criminal charges of Interfering with a Flight Crew or Acts of Violence Against Public Transportation Systems may carry a 20 year prison sentence.

    Crime Stoppers:Anyone with information on who may be responsible for the theft is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 343-COPS, or log onto, or text CRIMES or 274637, subject: Tip236. A citizen can remain anonymous. A reward of up to $1,000 is offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest of criminal suspects

    Dangers of Lasers for Aircraft:Laser beams do not end with height but continue and the beam becomes much larger at long distances. The photo above was taken from an Internet sight and shows a laser being pointed at a police helicopter. 

    When the beam hits the windscreen of a cockpit or the bubble of a helicopter, imperfections in and on the glass spread the light out even more. Laser light in the pilot's eyes causes glare and the inability to see past the light. At higher power levels it can also cause temporary flashblindness and afterimages (as a bright camera flash causes "blindness" for several seconds). Since the beam can't be held completely steady on the cockpit, pilots often experience one or more of these bright flashes intensifying the pilot's inability to see and the danger to the aircraft and it's occupants.