Military and law enforcement has a tough job to do. Fighting crime and terror, defeating risks the world over, and creating a safe environment for civilians to raise families and enjoy freedoms. Law Enforcement technology has come a long way since the days of the Old west Gunslingers. The technology starting to breakthrough, and that which is on the horizon, is some of the most fascinating that has ever been seen. Law Enforcement technology is taking great leaps forward, in some cases literally (see number 3 on the list).
Stink bombs? Really? Yes, Really. The first generation of riot controlling sound and scent based deterrents are in use now, with an excellent track record and several high profile successful victories. Last year in one of the most dangerous waterways anywhere on the globe, pirates attempting to board a civilian cruise ship were effectively deterred with a sound producing device made to keep birds from doing their business in sensitive areas. These machines which aim highly concentrated sound waves at potential threats render the target unable to use hands as they cover their ears. Called LRAD (Long Range acoustic device – pictured above), the equipment can provide accurate and effective deterrence for riot control and secured building defense. It projects a 95+ decibel sound profile at the target causing immediate inefficiency, and requiring the target to seek a different position or change their once aggressive stance to that of a grandmother in front of a speaker at a rock concert. Future versions boast longer ranges, wider effective fields of sound, and more intense sound projection. Combined with other emerging technologies, like scent based deterrents which can cause vomiting, inability to focus, dulling of sensory capability, and a desire to relocate, this technology can be effective riot control or defense for a high risk area. Scents are now starting in the test phases for effectiveness and potential replacement of high pressure water hoses and rubber and bean bag projectiles for such situations. Scents like Skunk, and feces, and even some concentrations of more commonly-thought-of-as-pleasant chemicals can incapacitate in some cases. In almost all cases, they can break down a target’s will to maintain an aggressive position. Smell has the unique ability to both build up and break down barriers simultaneously depending on how they are used.
The future of energy science also includes supplements for human consumption, which can tailor the energy needs of a soldier or law enforcement officer to the support he has available. The ability to forget about having to support fundamental human needs could offer an incredible enhancement to the future law enforcement agent. Being able to control which energy gets used where, allows (theoretically) agents and officers to be faster, stronger smarter, and longer lasting than the opposition. It’s a bit like Viagra for the entire body. Products and procedures which would allow the genetic re-engineering of the metabolism, not only makes overweight people everywhere drool, it makes it possible for a soldier, officer or agent to function at peak capacity without the need to stop and eat, or even worry about eating for days at a time. In reality it’s not as far-fetched as it may seem. Scientists in several well respected labs have already made excellent headway in developing injections that can re-engineer human metabolic processes.
Perhaps the future of border protection and drug enforcement agencies, unmanned drones and robots allow law enforcement to obtain surveillance and complete missions without being in harm’s way, and without introducing the potential for human error into the mix. Drones can currently: provide high quality images and video, track targets of extreme interest from beyond detectable ranges, and even complete tactical bombing runs. This is just the start. As the technologies continue to improve, agencies someday see entire offensives completed by unmanned “cost effective” (relative to current technologies) drones with multiple purposes. Currently the drones are typically singular in purpose, used for a very specific jobs and only great at one thing. Future models promise more capabilities, and even more precision for mission completion. Unmanned drones are currently used to provide intelligence from restricted airspace, and to track terrorists and drug traffickers, the drones are quickly being snapped up by law enforcement agencies to assist in ever more dangerous situations.
After a brutal standoff in Los Angeles, Ca, where local law enforcement were forced to borrow firepower from local gun shops to level the odds against a heavily fortified and well equipped duo of bank robbers, agencies began to adopt Military weapons systems as standard equipment. The OICW XM-8 and XM-29 should be no exception when it is released for production. Started sometime in the late 1990’s with a view to the replacing of an aging design in the M-16/M-4 infantry weapon, the OICW has had its fair share of delays, redesigns and future proofing. It’s likely that the jointly worked project (collaboration between Heckler and Koch and the US department of Defense) will debut in late 2012. Aside from having an intimidating look, the OICW Bullpup style weapon combines an infantry rifle with a 25 mm grenade launcher capable of firing the next generation of HEI-T (High-Explosive Incendiary with tracer) ammunition. These are being dubbed the ammunition of the future with the capability of using range defined explosive charges to allow for a complete weapon system to be carried by each soldier or law enforcement office who is given one. The ammunition can be dialed in to do any number of “tricks” including: exploding over a target (like a wall), entering into a building before exploding, and range finding the enemy for strategic maneuvers from over 400 meters away. With qualities like this, it blows video game arsenals out of the water, and provides law enforcement with firepower never before seen.
The material technology has existed for decades, but the build specific technology is truly futuristic. If there is such a thing as futuristic dragons, that is. Dragon skin achieves a level of personnel protection unmatched by current techniques and materials by utilizing a stacked, scaled design to provide layers of fabric based lightweight ballistic armor, combined with high strength ceramic armored composites. Dragon Skin, a brand name produced by Pinnacle Armor allows movement (light weight, flexible, form fitting), and unmatched ballistic protection (nearly three times the protection for the same weight). With top secret development facilities, and a ton of VC and Government funding options, Dragon skin looks poised to bring the future of infantry combat to the here and now. Because of the unique combinations of materials and the top-secret design elements, the makers and testers of this futuristic armor claim that the armor can mitigate both penetration potential, AND blunt force absorption of muzzle energy, allowing Military and law enforcement users protection against high velocity, high mass ammunition’s fired from small arms. This technology truly skews the playing field in favor of law enforcement agencies.
Has a chicken breast ever gone into a microwave oven without an absolute massacre being the end result? The ADS system (Active Denial System) aims to do the same thing to pesky rioters, high risk threats, and otherwise heavily shielded and protected targets. Now in its advanced testing stages within the military facilities, it’s entirely likely that Law enforcement will be the number one consumer of this technology for its unmatched abilities within the riot and mob control scenario. High frequency targeted microwaves are projected at an offender sparking a reaction in the water carrying (read: all) molecules and fatty tissues, causing the target to heat up from the inside out. Immediately, the target is unable to continue in the same fashion as before, they are in immense pain, and too uncomfortable to continue as a threat. It provides a biological reaction in the body, incapacitating the target and rendering them effectively useless for a longer period of time than other “non-lethal” methods.
Metal storm weapons (MAUL, Firestorm, Redback) may not be true Future Law Enforcement technologies as they already exist. Rather, the “simple” technology behind the complex pieces produced by Metal Storm conceals the future proof capabilities. Stacked munitions allow for rapid deployment of ammunition, accelerated reloading for continued engagement, and the safest, most foolproof operation of a weapon – which is paramount until law enforcement can find a way to take the human factor out of the combat equation. The MAUL is an add-on system which allows law enforcement to add five shotgun shell sized munitions to their current entry weapons. This could facilitate door breaching, riot control, or lethal munitions where before those tools would have been too cumbersome to carry, or require additional personnel. Firestorm is a 40mm stacked munitions grenade launcher, which allows border patrol and other remotely operating law enforcement groups a system of backup and protection against larger groups, or high threat targets. The Firestorm can launch 24,000 grenade rounds a minute, operated from safety via an internet connection, RF, and dc power. Redback is a high volume rail gun, the backbone perhaps of the Metalstorm brand, it truly unleashes a storm of metal upon its targets with multiple barrel builds, and stacked in line munitions, this machine rains down hell on its targets.
Half man, half robot, all cop. Exoskeleton armor has been in existence to brutal effect for thousands of years – Think Cockroaches and Crabs. It’s pretty difficult to mortally wound a cockroach, and even if it happens, the roach can still function with amazing capabilities for up to a few months. The HULC suit is another product in the Military to Law Enforcement distribution model. It’s a power assisted suit of armor which can be combined with other pieces of defensive and offensive technology to make hybrid law enforcement personnel. It can sense the direction that a wearer wants to move in, and help propel them forward towards their target. It can prevent muscle strain and over usage by deploying special enhancements to lighten the load on the human inside of it. It runs on jet fuel for 72 hours, and enhances strength, speed, endurance and, most likely, morale for all involved on the same side as the suit. The coolest part about the HULC suit? It’s not the only suit on the market, the Sarcos suit is another viable contender for the space, with the only operational difference being the power supply and some additional enhancements. The six million dollar man and Robocop might look cool, but this suit defines cool. It’s the coolest new technology, and probably on the top of every gadget lover’s wish list.
In some circles, Nanotechnology is being dubbed the future of just about everything; these “critters” have the potential to rule the future of law enforcement in ways that span from the mundane to the inconceivable. From fabrics so slick they can resist and prevent knife thrusts, to nano tech fingerprint rendering from cases decades old, this technology has so many possibilities that it couldn’t possibly be quantified at the current level of understanding. Nanotechnology can improve everything from bullet proof armored fabrics, to the effect bullets have on the body once coming in contact with a target’s flesh, to reproducing latent evidence from crime scenes by using biological remnants of DNA and other particles. Biologically enhanced weapons can further be strengthened and even controlled using nanotechnology, allowing for drastic changes to the cloak and dagger world of spy games. Nanotechnology gives law enforcement hope of one day operating with a lower rate of failure and risk by being able to control outcomes, and protect against changing threats with legions of tiny “bugs” to carry out the dirty work. Nanotechnology – creating a new respect for the scrubbing bubbles in bathrooms all across the United States.
Cloak and Dagger is an excellent platform for usage, and maybe even a potential brand name for this technology, which at its current stage employs hundreds of thousands of mirrored holographic discs to blend into an environment. The potential for operatives, snipers and entry teams to avoid detection by sight makes it almost an unfair fight. Law enforcement by fear alone? It’s a distinct possibility that simply knowing law enforcement can act counter to a criminal without their knowledge could decrease criminal activity at even the highest threat levels. Currently only in its infancy, metamaterial cloaking is one of the more widely desired, and closely watched, technologies especially in the law enforcement space, as it has the opportunity to have the single biggest impact on human personnel and law enforcement procedure of any other conceived technology. Future designs will likely include a combination of shape changing liquids/materials and highly faceted reflective discs which can also absorb color and light to further disguise the user in a more natural way. It has worked for Harry Potter, and within the decade it may provide an amazing supplement to law enforcement agencies in the fight against terror, and all manner of other criminal activity.