FBI, local agencies crack down on cockpit laser pointing - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

FBI works with local agencies to crack down on cockpit laser pointing

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The FBI and local law enforcement are working together to crack down on what's become a growing problem for pilots: people pointing lasers into cockpits -- temporarily blinding pilots.

On Tuesday, a news conference was held to help spread the awareness about how dangerous laser pointers can be.

Interfering with the operation of an aircraft has long been a federal crime, but a new law makes it a federal felony to knowingly point a laser beam at an aircraft.

In 2012, pilots reported nearly 4,000 so called "laser strikes" -- 123 of those were here in Phoenix.

"The FBI hopes that you will generate public awareness about the extent of the problems and the dangers and penalties associated with laser pointers aimed at aircrafts," said FBI Special Agent in Charge, Douglas Price. 

"Our pilots experience at least two times a month where we're attacked by laser issues," said Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia.

"It felt like a bird or something actually flew into my eye.. it felt like it got punched in my right eye to the point where I saw stars and was unable to see.. it immediately started watering," said Officer Chris Potter of the Tucson Police Department.

If you have information about a "lasing" incident or see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, call your local FBI office or dial 911.  The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of someone who deliberately aimed a laser at an aircraft.

Online: fbi.gov/news/stories/2014/february/protecting-aircraft-from-lasers

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