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LESS-LETHAL TECHNOLOGY 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 de
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