Utica police unveil two new pieces of equipment

By Gary Liberatore

(WKTV) - The Utica Police Department now has two new items in its arsenal.

Chief Mark Williams unveiled them Friday morning to the media.

First, a state grant allowed the department to purchase the LRAD, which is short for long range acoustic-haling device.

It's an $8,000 high-tech sound machine that can be used for numerous things, including dispersing huge crowds quickly, such as the Boilermaker Post Race Party for example.

The device is a product of the LRAD Corporation and is used to send messages, warnings, and if needed, harmful, pain-inducing tones over greater distances than normal loudspeakers.

The sound that comes out of the LRAD can penetrate walls, so it would be much easier to communicate with a standoff suspect, and can be done from a safer distance.

The LRAD can also be programmed to broadcast pre-programmed messages in English, Spanish and Bosnian.

Another grant allowed the department to purchase a number of patrol rifles.

Chief Williams says the Smith & Wesson M&P 15X rifles are half the weight of their current shotguns, easier to shoot and  more accurate and can be used from a much farther distance.

The rifles will allow officers to be farther away from a suspect in a standoff situation, for example.

Some officers have been rained in the use of the LRAD and others have been been certified to use the new patrol rifles.

Chief Williams says so far neither has been used in a live situation, but they are now available when needed.

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