Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Speaking of militarization of law enforcement,

“Long-range acoustic devices [LRADs] for crowd control can be extremely dangerous. These are used in Iraq to control insurgents. They can cause serious and lasting harm to humans…We want to know WHY our Sheriff Dept has this weapon,” Sal Magallanez of San Diego-based Liberty One Radio said in an e-mail sent to East County Magazine, prompting a joint investigation.

The device was stationed by San Diego County Sheriff deputies at a recent town hall forum hosted by Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) in Spring Valley and at a subsequent town hall with Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego). The Davis Rally drew an estimated 1,300-1,500 people, including vocal conservative and liberal protest groups

Hmmm. When they spoke to the incident commander at that meeting,
...“It’s a really loud speaker,” he said, adding that the device is used to assure that announcements can be heard over the din of a crowd. “We’ll often use a helicopter, but this is something portable,” he explained. The device has also been present at a sand-castle building competition in Imperial Beach and could be deployed at any large event locally, since the Sheriff’s office is sometimes subcontracted by other cities within San Diego County to provide security.

Asked if he was aware that the device had a deterrent capability that includes a directed sound loud enough to cause hearing loss, he replied, “You mean like they use in Iraq? I can’t imagine we’d do that, because it would hurt our own people at the same time…I can’t believe that we would use the kind of thing on a crowd that the military does,” he said, adding that the deputy on the Rhino was not wearing protective earphones. “There were deputies right in front, too,” he observed, but added that he would have to “go home and look this up on Google” to learn more
When they spoke to the Sheriff about it,
ECM: Crowd control has been in the news with the Francine Busby pepper spray incident. Now some have expressed concern after spotting long-range acoustical devices (LRADs) at Congressional members Susan Davis and Darrell Issa town hall forums on healthcare. We understand these devices can be used as loudspeakers, to avoid need for a helicopter to address large crowds—

GORE: That’s not the primary purpose.

ECM: They’re also called sonic cannons, capable of directing a deterrent sound. They’ve been used in IRAQ on insurgents and to repel pirates.

GORE: That’s a precaution in case you need it.

ECM: LRADs can cause permanent hearing loss and other health problems. What make and model LRAD do you have, what are the guidelines for when these may be used, what training is provided, and how can you assure that your deputies and innocent bystanders won’t be hurt?

GORE: Our deputies have the required training
Well, if your lieutenants don't know what the damn thing really is, then I'd say the training has some holes in it, wouldn't you? Or somebody's not telling the truth.

Also, the manufacturer rep said
He also denied that the company’s LRADs can cause hearing problems or other health concerns. “No, not true,” he said. “You’d have to be in close proximity for several minutes in order to have any damage at all. If you willingly stand in that beam for an extended situation, then that’s your choice.
Well, bullshit. 148db, or for that matter quite a bit less, can cause real hearing damage, and it doesn't take 'several minutes'; a quick search says gunshots can produce levels of '130 to 153 decibels', and it's been known for a very long time that that can cause hearing damage, often in a single exposure(which is why we're so picky about "Wear plugs or muffs!"). This man either doesn't know what the equipment can do, or is lying about it.

So we've got some law enforcement agencies buying sonic weapons that can cause real damage to people and- sometimes- claiming "it's just a big speaker". Yeah. a big speaker than can cause deafness and possibly brain damage.

Curiouser and curiouser, isn't it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"just a speaker", yeah, sure. Like Bin Laden is "just someone who disagrees with Americans."