Friday, April 6, 2012

The Future of Nonlethal Weapons

Future of Nonlethal weapons
Rubber bullets, batons, police dogs, tear gas, Tasers and peppers spray are a part of the police arsenal for nonlethal methods. However, military testing may give police the option for safer and better methods for restraining a resisting or crowd control. I believe that the more options police have the more efficient they can be at their jobs but leaves a risk for abuse of the power. Here are some possible nonlethal weapon options for police in the future if it is possible to reduce in price and size.
The vehicle mounted active denial system (V-MADS) uses electromagnetic energy to deter advancing enemies, with a range above 700 meters. The V-MADS sends a ray of energy that penetrates 1/64 of an inch which creates a burning sensation. The ray does not cause damage unless someone is the beam for 250 seconds and at this time it will cause burns. The beam is thin enough so if someone is trying to avoid they can easily run out of the targeted area. The military has spent 40 million dollars working on this technology. There is a problem with this technology; countermeasures can be taken like hiding behind a metallic sheet or some type of reflector. also the energy could be absorbed by water.
The next weapon is known as Pulsed Energy Projectile (PEP). This was previously known as pulsed impulsive kill laswer, but then they had to turn it down and also because the acronym would be PICKL. The gun works by exploding plasma on impact. The weapon is still being research to find its optimal pulse parameters to target the nervous system and not the actual material being hit. However, the weapon can be used to destroy whatever material it hits it is being research to become a nonlethal weapon. The exploding plasma creates unpleasant feelings such as “being burned, frozen or dipped in acid all without causing visible harm. This weapon can be used for crowd control and is usually mounted on vehicles because of its weight.
The personal halting and stimulation response rifle (PHASR) rifle. The weapon temporarily blinds the target. There are many problems with this weapon. The problems include creating a high enough beam to damage anyone in the target area, but to make sure that developing retinas in children are not damaged or it does not create permanent damage in anyone. We are one of the only countries developing this kind of weapon because of the 1995 protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons. This is an international ban that the US military is simply ignoring and continuing its research. The US Department of Defense believes the weapon could be used, for example, to temporarily blind suspects who drive through a roadblock.
            Along with these weapons comes a whole series of ethical questions, but as they develop we may see them mass produced for the use of law enforcement. The new technology if used properly can help avoid damaging people, but my concerns with this technology are that if they have been studied so rigorously then why have they not been prepared for production or maybe they are too expensive.


  1. Interesting article Armando. I am curious to see how these type of weapons will affect policing if introduced to the arsenal. You bring up a great point saying that there may be a higher potential for abuse of power. Since there is not as much liability as shooting another individual, I can see police officers being more inclined to engage in nonlethal force. Some of the weapons you mentioned seemed very science-fiction. I am amazed by the technological advances that are starting to be adopted by police organizations.

  2. I don't know if I would feel comfortable (even though I want to someday enter the field myself) with the police having military grade technologies and weaponry like this. Maybe it would be better suited a very large city that is more at risk to deal with large, possibly riotous crowds. It makes me a little nervous because of the large risk of abuse that could take place. Not to mention the amount of money it would cost (at the expense of the taxpayer I would imagine) to equip police departments with these tools. Maybe we don't need bigger, louder, or more futuristic weapons as police. I don't know if it would improve police/community relations.

  3. This was a very well written and interesting article. I personally feel that law enforcement should use resources in order to utilize and develop more of these non-lethal weapons. I feel that any way in which people. However, as you mentioned these non-lethal weapons are only as effective as the people that possess their power. If police use these weapons to abuse their power then obviously the use of non-lethal weapons would be deter mental. However, I believe that this is only one con as opposed to the many pros that come with their usage such as saving life's or preventing injury to people. In addition, I was amazed at some of the weapons that you mentioned in the article, especially the PHASER Rifle.