Not enough that Vancouver’s City Council voted for relaxing the noise-control bylaw to accommodate more noise during the games in February 2010, the Vancouver Police Department acquired a “hailer,” allegedly just for efficient communication, not as a weapon. On the website of the manufacturer, American Technology Corporation, we found the following information:
LRAD 500X™ Portable, Long Range Hailing & Warning
LRAD 500X is lightweight and can be easily transported to provide military and security personnel long range communications and a highly effective hailing and warning capability. LRAD 500X has been selected by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army as their acoustic hailing device (AHD) for small vessels and vehicles.
The superior voice intelligibility and clarity of LRAD 500X provides a highly directional audio beam that achieves maximum sound projection and penetration beyond 2000 meters. LRAD 500X operators have the ability to issue clear, authoritative verbal commands, followed with powerful deterrent tones to enhance response capabilities. The extended frequency range of LRAD 500X ensures voice commands will be clearly understood.
Maximum Continuous Output 148 dB SPL at 1 meter Beam Width +/ 15 @ 1 kHz/ 3dB
Highly intelligible speech transmissions over 2000 meters; *Max. range of 650 meters over 88 dB of background noise.
(*6+ dB above background noise is based on field trials conducted by independent sources.)
The Vancouver Sun reported in November that “Vancouver police won't rule out using a new crowd control device as a weapon capable of emitting loud, painful blasts of sound that are potentially damaging to hearing. But police spokesman Const. Lindsey Houghton insisted that the Long Range Acoustical Device was bought principally to replace ‘antiquated hand held megaphones’ as a tool to communicate in emergencies and for crowd control.
‘We're seeing it as a loudspeaker,’ Houghton said. ‘We'd be remiss if we did not have a device that could safely communicate to people.’ Asked whether police would ever use it for anything more than communication, Houghton said, ‘We can't rule out anything.’ Houghton also insisted that while the device will be available during the 2010 Winter Games, it was not bought specifically for that reason. Rather, the VPD plans to use it to get information out to large crowds, such as during the summer fireworks or in an emergency such as an earthquake.
But the B.C. Civil Liberties Association questioned why the device, which it said can be used as a ‘sonic weapon,’ was bought without any public consultation. ‘It is not just a big megaphone. If they are not ruling out the sonic gun aspect then we are going down a slippery slope, and that's a problem,’ BCCLA president Robert Holmes said.‘The acoustical devices are ‘more appropriate to a repressive society. Look at the customers for them: Honduras, Iraq, Jordan and China.’
Holmes questioned why the $17,000 device, which was bought second hand, was given the go-ahead by Mayor Gregor Robertson and city council without any public process.”
Beware of being “hailered”!