Law enforcement agencies need more research and development (R&D) for non-lethal weapons. It seems to me that there hasn’t been a great deal of improvement in technology for law enforcement equipment in recent years. More money should be invested in R&D to find better ways to subdue suspects without harming them, or “less lethal” methods.
The police have been using Tasers for some time, but not all officers carry them. There have been problems associated with the use of Tasers. Tasers and other high-voltage stun guns can cause cardiac arrhythmia leading to heart attacks. There were 180 deaths associated with Tasers in the US by 2006. Tasers can ignite flammable materials including gasoline, solutions often found in meth labs and CS (found in tear gas). Pepper spray probably has less risk. But tasers and pepper spray are old technology. Neither render the perps totally helpless. New less-lethal weapons that subdue a perp or mark him for arrest later are needed.
The use of sonic weapons shows promise. These weapons could be made in the form of bullets, grenades or cannons using a beam of focused sound or ultrasound. A handheld device with a selector switch for various intensities would be great. Extremely high-power sound waves attack the eardrums to cause severe pain or disorientation. Less powerful sound waves can cause nausea or discomfort. It may be possible for such a device to cause vibration of the eyeballs to distort vision. I can hear an officer shouting, “Set your weapons on stun.”
I envision another weapon similar to a paint ball gun. It could fire a variety of balls;
Paint. Okay, this is a regular paint ball. It could help to identify the perps when they’re rounded up later.
CS or Tear Gas. This bullet would contain enough CS or tear gas to incapacitate one person.
Dye. This bullet would contain a dye that can’t be removed from the skin, also an aid in identifying the perps.
Smoke. This bullet contains a chemical that causes clothing to smoke – not burn. The trail of smoke could be followed. No need to shot an escaping perp.
Skunk Oil. This bullet contains thiol, an organic Sulphur compound that is very pungent, causing a burning or stinging sensation. Of course when used, the officers may decide not to press charges.
Super Balls. Those high-energy rubber balls that seem to bounce forever.
I also think that some type of silly string might be useful. Silly String (generically known as aerosol string) creates a long plastic string as it’s propelled under pressure. If technology can develop a stronger string that can’t break easily but loses its strength after several minutes, it might be useful to subdue a suspect.
Then there’s the ever popular drone. During traffic stops and other confrontations, a drone might be released to hover overhead or nearby. Another officer in a remote location (police station) would control the drone. It could record the incident and if needed employ varies less-lethal weapons such as aerial sprays of pepper spray, silly string, water, dye or skunk oil. Maybe the drone could deploy a net on the perp. The drone could even follow a fleeing perp.
Police definitely need a device with software that can rapidly identify suspects using face recognition. The device would use three-dimensional face recognition technology coupled with thermal cameras and skin texture analysis. Other aids might include hand held devices that rapidly search fingerprint data bases and DNA data bases. While these aren’t weapons, it would be useful if they could be used at distance of 10 – 25 feet. Okay, creating a national data base with fingerprints, DNA and faces is a topic for another time.
Robots are used more and more by law enforcement. Mainly they’re used for bomb disposal but have been used in other situations to reduce the risk for officers. Why not create a robot that can apprehend a perp; even one with a lethal weapon? The robot could be programed to act on voice commands much like a dog. It could use all the less-lethal weapons: paint balls, sonic, silly string and/or nets. Ideally, it would approach a perp and latch on to him to restrain him until the officer can cuff him. “Good robot.”
I don’t know what the police need most, but they do need an alternative to killing a perp, even one that is armed or running.
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