Strathclyde Police issued the strong warning after an incident in Lanarkshire involving the force's helicopter.
Police say anyone considering flashing a laser pen in the direction of any aircraft faces being locked up.
Last month a 16-year-old boy was reported to the procurator fiscal for allegedly shining a laser light at the force helicopter in Cambuslang.
The crew was responding to a bookies' robbery in Main Street on October 31, but the helicopter was stood down. Investigations into the robbery continue.
Communities Inspector Jim Gillespie, based at Rutherglen police station, said anyone shining a laser pen at aircraft should know the consequences.
"Shining a laser at a force helicopter or other aircraft has the potential to bring that aircraft down.
"Lives are being put at risk – not just those of the crews, but also those in communities around Glasgow.
"The force helicopter can be deployed in densely populated, urban areas and with a laser-pen incident there is a risk to people living in these areas.
"There are potentially serious consequences of such foolish acts."
Laser pens can be bought for just a few pounds and are readily available online and in some hardware stores.
They have genuine uses, such as as as a teaching aid, but some are misused.
Inspector Gillespie emphasised that anyone involved in such acts will be caught.
He added: "Some people think it is something they will get away with. We have the means to track people down.
"They risk being caught by the police for what is a cheap thrill with life-threatening consequences.
"People might think this is a harmless stunt but it could lead to someone being seriously injured or worse."
In 2010 an 18-year-old man was charged after a police helicopter was targeted by a laser beam during the Pope's visit to Glasgow.
The helicopter was surveying crowds leaving Bellahouston Park after the Pope's Mass.
A man was jailed for four months for shining a laser pen at a Tornado jet trying to land at RAF Leuchars in Fife.