LIDAR systems back at Malmstrom

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

For patrolmen at Malmstrom Air Force Base, enforcing the rules and standards set in place by the wing commander is their duty. On a daily basis, Airmen entering and exiting the installation may see these men and women posted at various locations, ready to enforce those rules, if necessary.

"Being a security forces member or being a person in the military, you're held accountable for a lot of things and that is basically our job - to enforce rules and the standard, and hold people accountable," said Staff Sgt. Kyle Williams, 341st Missile Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman.

While the mission of pulling people over for mistakes is not exactly pleasant for the officers tasked with this assignment, they believe this service is necessary - providing a safer place for everyone in the end.

"One thing I can say on behalf of our whole career field is that we are people too," said Staff Sgt. Donald Gresham, 341st Security Forces Squadron base defense operations command controller. "We have to make decisions based on the rules . . . none of us are out to ruin your day or career. We all care."

Never the less, mistakes are made and not all of them go unnoticed by the patrolmen on watch.

While on patrol, one of the most common infractions seen by officers is speeding. As a way to combat this problem, security forces members on patrol have recently re-implemented what is known as a Laser Illuminated Detection And Ranging gun.

With this technology, patrolmen have the ability to determine the accurate speed of vehicles passing nearby.

Before implementation in the field, patrolmen learn how to correctly use the LIDAR system through a several-hour class that is taught by the Montana Highway Patrol, Gresham said.

Through remote sensing technology where a laser is sent from the gun to the target, speed is determined by how fast that laser beam shortens or lengthens.

"The LIDAR system is extremely accurate due to the fact that in order for the gun to read a vehicle's speed, the laser it emits must be aimed directly at the driver's license plate," Gresham said.

For anyone with a led foot, the employment of this device may very well make for an in-depth learning lesson on the effects of speeding on your wallet.

Depending on the infraction, officer's discretion is used to offer either a verbal warning or issue a ticket.

For Gresham and Williams, even with having to enforce the rules and write the occasional ticket, the job is still very rewarding.

"Working (with and around) people every day is my favorite thing about this job," Gresham said. "It's an opportunity to show that not only do I care, but the people I work with also care."

"My favorite part is definitely getting out and interacting, and talking to the people," Williams said. "Building those relationships is what I love most about the job."