Washington, D.C., police offices are using high-tech blasters known as rumblers along with traditional sirens, says the Washington Post. They are is aimed at grabbing people’s attention and getting them to make room for officers responding to emergencies, helping police navigate through traffic faster and safer. People can feel them from about 200 feet away. Police have 49 cars equipped with the rumblers, which are part of a lights-and-sirens package the department is phasing in over several years as it gets new cars and retires old ones. In about four years, all of the department’s 767 marked patrol cars likely will have them.
With a pair of high-output woofers and an amplifier, the rumbler gets its message across with low-frequency sound waves that shake everything, including rear-view mirrors. The city is buying the rumblers at the behest of Chief Cathy Lanier, who said she wanted officers to have the newest technology, especially if it improves safety. She said officers at times have had trouble getting traffic to clear. “People can’t say they didn’t hear the siren, because with these, they feel it,” Lanier said