Commander Bob Osborne presided over a press conference this afternoon at the Pitchess Detention Center's North County Correctional Facility (NCCF) to announce that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will be conducting an operational evaluation of a new device intended to stop or lessen the severity of inmate assaults.
The device, dubbed the Assault Intervention Device (AID), transmits a focused, invisible millimeter wave at the suspect which causes an intolerable heating sensation. The suspect can simply move away from the beam to stop the sensation. The beam is directed toward its target by a deputy using a standard joystick and computer monitor.
The technology, developed by Raytheon Company, was designed as a less-lethal weapon for military applications. A smaller, less-powerful version is being used in this operational evaluation.
Sheriff Lee Baca stated about the device, "We believe that technology can help solve problems facing the corrections community, including addressing issues of inmate violence. The Assault Intervention Device appears uniquely suited to address some of the more difficult inmate violence issues without the drawbacks of tools currently available to us."
One particularly difficult scenario involves inmates fighting in a dormitory, dining room or exercise yard, situations where jail officials often must await arrival of sufficient backup personnel to safely enter the area to separate combatants.
"This device will allow us to quickly intervene without having to enter the area and without incapacitating or injuring either combatant," said Sheriff Baca.
The operational evaluation is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice and the Pennsylvania State University who will assist in evaluating the operational results and examining jail records to determine whether the device has had any impact on overall patterns of jail violence.
Mr. Mike Booen, Raytheon Company's Vice President of Advanced Security & Directed Energy Systems at Raytheon Missile Systems, commented on the science behind the device, focusing on its safety and potential effectiveness. Raytheon's millimeter wave technology is safe and offers the best non-lethal solution available. The system emits a focused beam of wave energy that travels at the speed of light and penetrates the skin to a depth of 1/64 of an inch, producing a heating sensation that causes targeted individuals to flee.
The sensation will immediately cease when the targeted individual moves away from the beam.
An operational evaluation is the process whereby new equipment or procedures are implemented on a small scale to determine whether or not they are effective and useful with an eye toward future development, enhancements, and potential uses.
This operational evaluation is being conducted as part of the Sheriff's Department's Technology Exploration Program, and the device is expected to be evaluated for a period of six months.
For further information, please refer to the Sheriff's Department's Website, www.lasd.org
Email inquiries may be directed to project staff at AIDinquiry@lasd.org. Contact information for others involved in the evaluation appears below.
National Institute of Justice
US Department of Justice
Ms. Sheila Jerusalem
[pending phone number(s)]
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Commander Robert Osborne
Raytheon Missile Systems
Principle Public Relations Representative
Pennsylvania State University
A'ndrea Elyse Messer, Ph.D.
Senior Science and Research Information Officer
ABC - 7