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Thursday, August 19, 2004

GOP Convention - Security Gadgets

August 19, 2004
Police will have a much more high-tech option to make themselves heard over the din of Manhattan traffic, summer tourists and noisy protesters outside the upcoming Republican National Convention: the Long Range Acoustic Device.

The New York Police Department plans to use the portable, dish-shaped instrument developed for the military if it needs to broadcast warnings or instructions to a swelling crowd. It's part of an arsenal of devices and counterterrorism equipment that authorities were unveiling Thursday ahead of the convention Aug. 30-Sept. 2. The machines are being tested at an air field in a remote section of Brooklyn along with other devices like hand-held radiation detectors and mechanical barriers strong enough to stop a moving vehicle in its tracks.

The department recently bought two of the 45-pound acoustic machines for $35,000 apiece, and plans to mount them on armored vehicles posted outside Madison Square Garden. It would mark the first time the instrument which can beam sounds up to 150 decibels for distances up to 300 yards has been used by a civilian force. ``We believe we'd be able to use them in a number of scenarios,'' said Paul Browne, the NYPD's chief spokesman. Two possible uses cited by Browne: directing crowds to safety following a terrorist attack or other calamity, and reminding protesters where they're allowed to march and rally. At past demonstrations, protesters have complained they couldn't hear police directions, resulting in confusion and angry clashes. ... FR Reprint.

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