Directed Energy Weapons, of which I covered in the first article, do actually have a place in the modern SWAT arsenal. On a program on the Discovery Channel, there was a demonstration of how this type of weapon could be used by SWAT teams in a hostage rescue situation. Two bits of kit were shown. The first one was a small lazer-projecting device that is fitted to a standard firearm, looking much like the current red-lazer dot sights used. Instead, this one had a green lazer and is intended to be beamed into the face, more specifically the eyes, of a suspect. What this then does is temporarily blind the victim so that he/she cannot see where they are aiming their weapon, hopefully forcing them to drop it and surrender. It’s said that you also get after-effects for a short while where your vision is impaired. This would be like a first offense before putting your traditional ballistic weapon to use.
The second gadget looked like a briefcase, it was the same sort of size and shape as one. This projected a 200,000 volt static electrical charge approximately one foot out one end of the case. When someone comes into its field of fire, they are immediately disabled, and with that amount of voltage is said to be able to knock a man off his feet. This is used by keeping guard of a potential exit for the suspects. Say you’ve got a room with two doors. It is harder for a five-man SWAT team to cover two doors and concentrate on the room effectively. So, this device, known as the “Stun Strike” is placed outside one of the doors, and is left unattended, thus allowing one more man to concentrate on the room with the hostage(s) and suspect(s) in. The SWAT team go through the other door, then, if in the confusion a suspect decides to run out — he will be instantly hit with the static electrical field. With both exits covered, it would be hoped that the situation was contained.
These two devices used together, could possibly decide the outcome of the mission. Whereas injuries may have been caused with traditional weapons and tactics only, with these two devices it gives the armed unit more options and hopefully the means of taking the situation in hand without any casualties. All-round, better for everyone, apart from the suspect perhaps — who will now do some hard jail-time.
As far as the weapons and vehicles go, I don’t see how or why they’d need to get any better, I think that for an armed unit, the body armor is probably the most likely piece of equipment to get seriously upgraded, and such will likely get more lightweight, less restrictive, yet able to stop more bullets, more effectively. One such type of body armor is the “Dragon Skin”, where, on a program on the History Channel, it was shown to be much more comfortable and effective than traditional heavy body armor. Instead of having a vest with one big slab of armor on the chest area, this revolutionary new sort of armor had many smaller discs of armor that allowed the wearer to move more. Also, traditional body armor simply stops the bullet, but this one uses a metal second in hardness only to diamond and it actually shatters the bullet. The Dragon Skin was put on a dummy and fired at, to show its level of protection. It was fired at with nearly a whole mag from an AK47 from 10 yards, and around 120 rounds from a 9mm Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine gun, from 3 yards. When inspected, the dummy had only a slightly torn T-shirt, where the main bulk of the rounds had impacted. However, and here’s the amazing part, no round had actually penetrated the body armor.
I don’t think that the future of law enforcement will change as much as the future of the armed forces. Gung-ho robotic killing machines would never be, or should never be, sanctioned on our streets. I do believe, however, that SWAT teams will be ever more well equipped, with all the latest gadgets and gizmos to keep them at their peak and have a good advantage over the bad guys. Whatever changes come into place, I hope we can still be rest-assured that police armed response units will be available and can be deployed quickly, and carry out their mission with speed, skill and success. I know that some of you here are in the police, and even if it’s not the armed police, I’d like to take a moment to just say a big thanks on behalf of everyone else here, for doing a great job. Keep up the good work guys… and thanks for keeping our streets safe! Right, I’m off to watch Police Academy!
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