East Tennessee officials cracking down on laser pointers being a

East Tennessee officials cracking down on laser pointers being aimed at aircraft

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In conjunction with a national public awareness campaign, East Tennessee officials are offering an up to $10,000 reward for the next 90 days for information leading to the arrest of people pointing lasers at aircraft. (source: FBI) In conjunction with a national public awareness campaign, East Tennessee officials are offering an up to $10,000 reward for the next 90 days for information leading to the arrest of people pointing lasers at aircraft. (source: FBI)
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Federal and local authorities are cracking down on laser pointers being aimed at aircraft by offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of individuals doing so.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation says the deliberate targeting of aircraft by lasers has increased 1,000 percent over the last eight years. Directing lasers at an airplane or helicopter can temporarily blind a pilot, creating a real safety risk for everyone on board and people on the ground.

There were almost 4,000 reported laser strikes nationwide in 2013, or an average of 11 incidents per day.

The FBI says improvements in technology and the availability of low cost lasers have contributed to the problem.

President Obama signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act in 2012, which makes aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft a federal felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $11,000.

In conjunction with a national public awareness campaign, East Tennessee officials are offering an up to $10,000 reward for the next 90 days for information leading to the arrest of people pointing lasers at aircraft.

The Knoxville FBI office, in collaboration with the FAA, Department of Homeland Security (including the Transportation Security Administration [TSA] and the Federal Air Marshals), Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Alcoa Police Department, and the McGhee Tyson Air National Guard are tracking these incidents locally and will investigate reported violations.

Incidents may be reported to the FBI, your local law enforcement agency, or by calling 911.
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