|Police via Shutterstock|
“This is simply a risk management tool, as the public will receive clear information regarding public safety messages and any orders provided by police,” Chicago Police spokeswoman Melissa Stratton told the Guardian.
However, during its first outing at a U.S. protest, during the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh in 2009, police blasted non-lethal sound waves from the device as a crowd deterrent. Unlike firing tear gas or swinging batons, deploying the LRAD does not create a dramatic media spectacle; indeed, videos from the Pittsburgh protests capture the LRAD emitting little more than a high-pitched siren. Those within the sound cannon’s range, however, have described immense pain and severe headaches and — in some cases — irreversible hearing damage. LRAD Corp., which produces the weapon for the military and domestic policing, said that anyone within 100m of the device’s directed sound path will experience “extreme pain,” according to Gizmodo.