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March 22, 2012
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Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief 10-43: Be Advised...
with Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief

New patent makes one think, 'Holy less lethal, Batman!'

Would you strap onto your forearm a single device — which has an array of triggers, each controlling a different kind of less lethal weapon option — allowing you to “choose from a menu less lethal options” including OC spray, beanbag-type munitions, a ‘blinding dazzler’ of directed light, and a tunable, modulated ECD?  One aspiring inventor hopes you might. 

Gizmodo, a technology blog for the ultra-geek — and ‘wannabes’ who THINK they’re ultra-geeks — recently reported on a new U.S. patent issued to Joel L. Braun (USPTO Application #20120036990) which describes just such a colossus of a contraption. 

Katie Drummond of WIRED Magazine writes, in part, “Braun notes in his patent, law enforcement agents and military personnel often juggle a mess of equipment — less-lethals, handguns, flashlights — and risk ‘fumbl[ing] for the proper device’.” 

“The dilemma,” Drummond continues, “can be life-threatening for soldiers and cops, rendering them ‘exposed and defenseless’ when they’re trying to grab whatever tools needed for a given job... Braun’s patent offers a solution.” 

Apparently called the called the Non-Lethal Weapon Mount With Modular Weapon Components, the design as currently conceptualized would likely look like something directly out of a Batman movie set.  Or maybe Robocop.  Or Tron. 

Drummond explains, “Cram all the less-lethal weapons into a single unit. Strap the unit onto a wearer’s forearm while securing his or her hand on the device’s grip.” 

There are so many “issues” with both the Gizmodo blog post and the patent document itself that I don’t even know where to begin. 

So I won’t. 

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s set aside the fact that the term “non-lethal” was outmoded years ago, as well as the fact that there are a few “assumptions” made in the actual patent document which suggest a certain naïveté about police training, police work, and police officers on the part of the abovementioned Braun. 

Let’s set aside the entire thing, and use it instead as a “jumping off point” for something another inventor down the line might actually find useful.  Let’s all put our heads together to come up with a list of features and functions which PoliceOne Members would like to see in a 21st Century piece of law enforcement equipment.  Let’s have some fun and “think outside the box” here...

Perhaps voice-activated high-power LEDs sewn into outerwear or uniforms that would keep you “dark” on traffic stops until such time that you say something like “safety lights” to turn on those tiny, high-powered LEDs?  This way, passing drivers would clearly see you and avoid an unnecessarily-tragic roadside incident?  I don’t know, there are certainly a host of problems with the idea, but it has some degree of potential.

What about gloves with super-sensitive receptors on the back of the hand that would allow you to just place a few knuckles on a door or a wall to receive a signal in your earpiece that gave you not only voices inside, but the vibrations made by movements of the persons secreted behind a barrier of some kind?  I suppose you’d have to turn this sort of thing off before you start any shooting — else you’d probably blow out your eardrums — so that idea needs tinkering too. 

Come on, what’ve you got?  Post your nuttiest ideas in the comments area below.  Who knows, maybe some propeller-head somewhere will take all your comments and actually invent the “the next big thing” in law enforcement technology.  If nothing else, we’ll all get a good laugh out of the exercise. 

Stay safe my friends. 

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 800 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Read more articles by PoliceOne Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie by clicking here.

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