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Freedom of Information Act gleans erroneous data regarding Military LRADs at town hall

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department was rocked with controversy for placing military Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) at August town halls discussing health care. The device targeted Congresswoman Susan Davis-D and Congressman Darrell Issa-R, neither had any comment regarding the deadly LRAD misuse.

Now we know why Issa was silent – he has endorsed Sheriff Bill Gore who is in a dog fight with three other candidates to keep his job.

At a recent debate, all three candidates called Sheriff Gore on the carpet for placing military equipment used to repel terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan in the parking lot where U.S. citizens were invited by their elected representatives to engage in a discussion about health care.

That being said, Sheriff Candidate Jim Duffy explained he was present at the sales pitch for the LRAD and could not believe this military sonic weapon was on site. “I question why the LRAD would be at the event at all.”

After learning the LRAD military device required a fair amount of training and according to the manufacturer shouldn’t be operated within 75 meters of people because the weapon could cause permanent hearing loss or death, a Freedom of Information Act was filed with the Sheriff Department.

Once the training manuals and logs were requested, this reporter received some interesting documents via email from Sheriff Gore’s office. First, a four-page purchase order from a local San Diego company that sold the LRAD device for American Technologies seemed normal.

Second was a PDF copy of how the LRADs operate. This document appeared to be photocopied and came from the website http://science.howstuffworks.com/lrad. Anyone can find this on a LRAD Google search. This was far from impressive and completely unexpected when it came to what was expected from the Sheriff Department request.

The third and final document the Sheriff’s Department produced was a 55-page LRADx training manual from the manufacture. This manual discussed the usage of LRADs; crowd control was not mention within this manual.

In fact, the document was more of an overview of the LRAD device. More importantly the first page explains the LRAD weapon was developed specifically in response to the USS Cole terrorist attack in October 2000.

“The LRAD fulfills the capability to hail, warn and notify approaching vessels with prerecorded messages,” the manual reads. Photographs within the LRAD manual show an easy to operate on/off switch and a simple round knob used to adjust the decibel-sound levels.

The LRAD uses a sonic sound wave to deter or flush out the enemy. As the acoustic decibel-level intensifies, operational personnel must wear protective ear gear. LRAD sound decibels range from 20, noticeable, to 160+ which results in permanent hearing loss and/or loss of life.

Research gleaned from the Sheriff’s documents indicated the LRAD device had complaints from human rights groups and hearing specialists. They concluded the LRADs “are still weapons and have caused deaths in some circumstances.”

An email from Sheriff Gore read, “Attached are records in the possession of the Sheriff’s Department that concern the LRAD device. The Sheriff’s Department does not maintain any ‘logs.’”

However, Jay LaSuer, who is a former Sheriff Deputy and is running against Sheriff Gore, couldn’t disagree more with the Sheriff when it comes to training manuals or logs. “When I worked at the Sheriff Department Academy we keep very detail training logs for each deputy. These meticulous logs were kept just in case anything transpired with any deputy on the force.”

The company that sold Sheriff Gore the American Technologies LRAD revealed they no longer sell the device because there is better equipment on the market. The company spokesperson admitted that 95 percent of the devices sold were to military outlets.

Another interesting detail is American Technologies doesn’t require a license to purchase the military LRAD device. It was up to the good standing of a company to ‘check out’ potential customers.

“We definitely used good judgment when it came to selling the LRAD; it’s our fiduciary responsibility to do so. Plus, the company was founded by retired military veterans,” a company spokesman said. “Training is essential with this type of equipment.”

This detail leaves one wondering with Sheriff Gore’s background of missteps, can San Diego expect another Ruby Ridge-type accident to happen under Sheriff Gore’s less-than-stellar record. It also questions the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, who appointed Gore to the Sheriff post when Kolender retired, whether they did any homework during the hiring process.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner

Military LRAD devices placed at town halls come under fire

As town halls unfolded across the country without incident, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore took it upon himself to place military equipment used in Iraq to repel terrorists, at two San Diego events. The device is also used by the U.S. Navy to repel terrorists from ships.

Gore, who is now under fire for his decision to place the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) at town hall events, went on record to explain his decision making.

At a Sheriff’s debate Gore was asked directly (by this writer) why he felt the need to place such heavy-handed piece of military equipment at two area town halls.

“The LRAD was purchased as a crowd dispersal unit,” Sheriff Gore explained. “It was held in reserve in both Susan Davis-D CA. and Darrell Issa-R CA/Duncan Hunter-R CA. events should there be any problems. We could use the LRAD in place of pepper spray.”

Although Gore said the LRAD was held in reserve, a photo taken at the town hall proves otherwise, said a Department of Defense Security Contractor source close to the story.

Gore continued to add that the devise is a non-lethal piece of equipment.

However that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sheriff candidate Jay LaSuer said, “I dispute this answer. It’s a very, very lethal weapon and they (LRAD) have no place in law enforcement.”

“Why would you use a LRAD when members of Congress invited people to talk about health care? The majority of the attendees are probably on Medicare. Are we going after terrorists on walkers now?” LaSuer said.

Spokesperson, Joe Kasper from Congressman Hunter’s office had this to say.

“We were not aware of any type of technology being used to monitor the event at which the Congressman appeared. Law enforcement always stands to benefit from more advanced equipment but, regardless of the system, these tools should be utilized in a manner that is both safe and responsible. More importantly, there are certain systems that should only be used when absolutely necessary, so I think it’s reasonable to question the practicality of this particular technology in this situation.”

Numerous calls made to Congresswoman Davis’s office went unreturned.

Further disputing the call to place military weaponry at town hall events came from a military insider who has been to Iraq and was a part of the testing of the LRAD in San Diego.

“Let me be real clear, this weapon can cause serious injury to the inner ear or result in death if utilized improperly within 30-feet. Furthermore, the LRAD requires explicit training so not to accidentally deploy the weapon which causes hearing loss as well as death,” the DOD source said.

“Also, a Sheriff deputy picture taken at one event showed the deputy who was operating the equipment wearing a uniform shirt of the Search and Rescue unit, indicating he may have been a non-paid volunteer, not a trained deputy,” according to a source.

To make matters worse, this source confirms Sheriff Gore was given a demonstration of the LRAD by the manufacturer, American Technology Corporation at an Emerging Technology conference and “Gore knew this device could be deadly.”

This directly disputes the point that Sheriff Gore made when he said, “This is a non-lethal type of device.”

Gore goes on to say that “it (LRAD) was the best choice of options for preventative measures.”

Another 27-year veteran of law enforcement disagrees and question’s Gore’s decision to buy the LRAD device.

“Somehow this device made its way into law enforcement. I was there when the $40,000 sale took place. It’s not an effective tool because it uses a very pointed-piercing noise that you could hear, but the guy next to you would not,” retired Sheriff Deputy Jim Duffy said. “I question why it (LRAD) would be at that event at all.”

The LRAD uses a concentrated sound wave or beam that causes a lot of ear pain, bleeding or death when pointed at a direct source. According to the manufacturer’s website “the directionality of the LRAD device reduces the risk of exposing nearby personnel or peripheral bystanders to harmful audio levels.” So why use this equipment for crowd control?

Looking to Gore’s past history with the FBI Ruby Ridge incident and 9/11 Commission report, LaSuer questions the current Sheriff’s decision making. “Gore deployed a weapon that we use against terrorists on American citizens- shame on him.”

When pressed about the need to use such a lethal device at public town halls Gore states, “It was placed there for reserve and that’s all I can say.”

Another lifetime law enforcement deputy, Bruce Ruff says, “The potential use of lethality is pure incompetence by Sheriff Gore.”

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner

or http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner~y2009m9d11-San-Diego-Sheriff-deployed-military-crowd-control-device-at-Congressional-town-halls

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