BEAMING pain & confusion by ProQuest


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        By Jonathan Kozlowski

                                                                pain & confusion

I    t’s inevitable, once someone
     mutters the term “lasers,” imag-
es of space fighters, the infamous
                                              From there product debates
                                           tend to veer toward the non-lethal
                                           conundrum — law enforcement’s
                                                                                  — thus halting the suspect long
                                                                                  enough for appropriate action to be
                                                                                  taken. Appropriating this technol-
“Goldfinger” table scene and sci-          very own Golden Hind. Can a non-       ogy for law enforcement’s use was
entists adorned with bulky goggles         lethal weapon effectively control a    unpractical. The concept needed
and lab coats come to mind.                violent subject or subjects? Maybe     to be lighter, smaller and safer —
    While the science fiction and          more importantly, can a non-lethal     three ideas to help officers and the
the almost absurd spy concepts are         weapon system deliver the effect its   public stay safe and return home.
cemented in our minds forever, they        inherent name implies and be com-          “We’re interested in seeing if one
seem to have inspired those scien-         pletely not lethal?                    would work in our dorms to where
tists to be creative in how technol-                                              if the deputy sees inmates squar-
ogy can be utilized for a multitude        Directing energy                       ing off, he can zap [them] to get
of purposes.                                  Active denial systems (ADS)         their attention and diffuse some-
    Likewise, the term “less-lethal”       were designed to employ a laser        thing before it sparks into a full
stirs up particular thoughts and           beam emitted at a subject and          riot disturbance,” says Sgt. Brian
products: bean bags, rubber balls,         cause an automatic uncontrollable      Muller of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s
chemicals, electricity, the over-          reaction — one that ceases unwant-     Department.
exposed “Don’t Tase me, bro” line,         ed or unsafe behavior. In short,           Muller adds that a few years
etc. The word itself almost offers         immediately stop a suspect from        ago, retired Commander Charles
an oxymoron. The technology is             accomplishing his intentions.          Heal sparked LASD’s interest in
meant as a substitute to an officer           ADS were developed for the          ADS. That interest brought them
drawing his gun — an obvious               military. A large disc was mounted     to the national defense contractor
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