MILTON-FREEWATER — Police here have a new gadget in their arsenal for catching speeding drivers.

The Milton-Freewater Police Department has received two $5,000 speed guns at no cost to the city, thanks to grants, according to Police Chief Doug Boedigheimer.

The new speed detectors are a step up from the old ones, he said. They use a laser-based technology called LIDAR, which is faster and has more range than traditional radar.

“It’s a much more precise way to target a vehicle,” Boedigheimer said.

The police chief said he has clocked drivers up to 1,300 feet away. As soon as a speeding motorist sees an officer with one of these guns, he said, they are already caught.

The LIDAR guns can also measure distance between cars, collect data on up to 500 detections per user and give officers an audio cue on speeds, with a higher-pitch note meaning faster drivers.

The grant that brought the department the new speed detectors requires that officers use the gadgets for traffic enforcement for at least five hours per month per officer, but Boedigheimer said that should not be a hard benchmark to reach.

“I’ve detected close to 1,000 vehicles since I got these,” he said. “Having these modern things motivates me to go out and use them for the benefit of the city.”

Forrest Holt can be reached at forrestholt@wwub.com or 526-8326.