How do police scanners work?

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The police scanners that the public can use in their car to detect police nearby

In: Technology

The term has a number of meanings.

One meaning of ‘police scanner’ is just a radio that is tuned to the radio channels that the police use. You can hear their conversations.

Another is a ‘radar scanner’, that listens for the signals given out by radar speed measurement devices. A similar device could be made that detects laser pulses from lidar speed detectors. (Less useful, because you’d only detect them as they detect your speed.)