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Digital equipment can now take aim at speeders

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City police now have the power to use digital equipment to catch speeders.

 The Manitoba government passed the necessary regulations on Monday, approving a police request made four years ago.

 The rule-change means old-style, analog or wet film devices installed in the city’s 33 intersection cameras and 10 mobile photo radar units can now be replaced with digital cameras. Right now, the film has to be processed before tickets are mailed out.

 The Traffic Injury Research Foundation recommended making the switch to digital in a report last year on photo enforcement.

 The regulatory change does not alter the conditions under which mobile photo enforcement can be used.

 City police have said they need to move to digital cameras because without them they feared the decade-old photo enforcement program would not be able to continue when the contract is up for renewal at the end of the year. Winnipeg is the last city in North America to use film for photo enforcement.

 The changes also allow police to use the new DragonCam portable photo-laser speed enforcement system as a vehicle-mounted photo laser system.

 The LIDAR-- light detection and ranging—device measures the distance to an object being sighted, a vehicle, by sending out a laser beam to calculate its speed. So rather than the swath-like beam of radar, LIDAR pinpoints its target up to about 600 metres away.

 What makes the hand-held DragonCam different from traditional police laser guns is that it's also a digital camera. Not only can police tag someone speeding with DragonCam – they can snap a high-definition photo or even take a video.

History

Updated on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 12:15 PM CDT: Corrects typo in headline.

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