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Toronto police armed with ‘sound cannons’ for G-20 next month

Not surprisingly, the Toronto police have purchased four Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) for use during the G-20 summit at the end of June.

As I’ve written about here and here, the LRAD is a new, controversial non-lethal weapon that was first used in the United States during the last G-20 in Pittsburgh.

While the U.S. National Institute on Deafness says that hearing noise over 85 decibels for a sustained time can cause permanent damage, the devices that the Toronto police just bought can generate sounds reaching 143 decibels.

According to the Toronto Star:

[Police spokesperson Const. Wendy] Drummond acknowledges LRADs can cause permanent hearing damage if used improperly but says Toronto police are developing guidelines for deployment. She said officers will also only use the device’s “alert” function if crowds become riotous and will use the manufacturer’s recommendation of firing short bursts, two to three seconds long.

I’ll believe that when I see it.