Vancouver Police Will Use LRAD For Crowd Control

CBC is reporting that the controversial LRAD device used at G20 protests in Pittsburgh is to become standard equipment for police:

Vancouver police have a new crowd control device capable of emitting painfully loud blasts of sound, just in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics, CBC News has learned.

The long range acoustic device (LRAD) can use sound as a weapon, emitting levels that cross the human threshold of pain and are potentially damaging to hearing. But it is also designed as a communications device that’s clearly audible up to a kilometre away.

Const. Lindsay Houghton said the device was first tested this summer as a public address system during the Celebration of Light fireworks events in Vancouver.

‘Backing into things like this without proper public discussion … is simply not good policy.”
—Robert Holmes, president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association

Houghton said police don’t plan to use the device for anything more than communication.

“The primary function we’re using the device for is its ability to communicate with very large groups with respect to crowd control, evacuations, tactical situations where we may need the loudspeaker portion of it,” he said.

The device, labelled as non-lethal, was designed for the American military and was first used publicly in North America in September as police in Pittsburgh tried to control anti-G20 demonstrators…

[continues at CBC site]

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