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DHS helps local police buy military-style sonic devices
Question of the Day
The devices can broadcast sound files containing warning messages or can be used with electronic translating devices for what amounts to “narrowcasting,” in which specific groups are targeted.
If crowds or potential foes don’t respond to the verbal messages, company records show that the LRADs can direct a high-pitched, piercing tone with a tight beam. Navy News has described the devices as being “louder than a jet engine,” saying they overwhelm their targets with “sound so loud they hear it inside their heads.”
LRADs also have been used by cruise ships and freighters to repel attacking pirates off the coast of Somalia, using narrow-beam sound waves with great clarity at 150 decibels - about 50 times the human threshold of pain - and short bursts of “intense acoustic energy” that can incapacitate people within 1,000 feet of the device.
The Department of Homeland Security also has put the LRAD technology to work in securing the nation’s borders, according to its Web page, providing the devices to the U.S. Border Patrol to give agents the “ability to communicate with persons at a long distance” and to do so in any language.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Jenny L. Burke said CBP has tested the LRAD but has not seen that the device is a highly effective tool for securing the border in most operational situations encountered. At this time, she said, the agency is not looking at expanding its use.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
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