Man Sentenced for Three Years in Prison For Laser Strike on Police Helicopter

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A Kansas City man was sentenced to three years in prison on Thursday, after he pleaded guilty for pointing a laser at a local police helicopter in 2013.

A Kansas City man, Jordan Clarence Rogers, pleaded guilty in September 2016 for pointing a laser at a local police helicopter.

On Thursday he was reportedly sentenced to three years in prison.

Laser Strike Convictions

Rogers is one of many people who have been convicted of laser strikes, out of thousands of incidents that are reported every year to the Federal Aviation Administration.

In October 2016, the FAA reported 5,564 incidents nationwide, over 22 reported per day.

The US government takes laser strikes very seriously, prosecuting individual cases whenever it can.

Approximately 28,000 laser strike incidents were reported to the Federal Aviation Administration between 2011 and 2015. In 2014, only 134 arrests and 80 convictions were made.

The Prosecution

The federal prosecutors say that Rogers was “generally aware” that laser pointing is potentially dangerous. Before his sentencing for three years, the government had initially asked for four years.

“It creates a danger not only to those in the aircraft but also to those on the ground,” said Brian Casey, an assistant United States Attorney, referring to Rogers’ 2013 laser pointing incident.

“In this case, the defendant struck the aircraft over a residential neighborhood. Thankfully the pilot was able to remain in control, but this defendant created a real and entirely unnecessary risk of tragedy.”

“This is a serious offense and the defendant’s punishment should reflect that.”

Casey also pointed out Rogers’ “horrendous” criminal history, including prior drug and property crimes. Rogers’ defendant, Carrie Allen, asked for a reduced sentence for her defendant.

“Mr Rogers did something that many young people might impulsively do: impulsive attempt to hit an object with a laser pointer,” she said in her pre-sentencing memorandum.

“Unfortunately a helicopter is an enticing target in these circumstances. Mr. Rogers did not go to an airport and intentionally point a laser pointer at planes carrying hundreds of people. Yet the guidelines would not distinguish between that sort of thought out action, endangering large amounts of innocent civilians, and this impulsive behavior.”

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