Los Angeles authorities have a new high-tech device designed to control rowdy inmates: a mechanism that blasts millimeter beams that simulate intense heat, reports NPR. At the Pitchess Detention Center, officials showed off their latest tool, which resembles a supersized dental X-ray machine with a flat screen on top. It works like something out of Star Trek. “You know when they set their phasers to stun, they did that so they didn’t kill people? Well, that’s exactly what this is. It does stun you,” says Mike Booen of Raytheon Missile Systems. The company built the device for the Los Angeles County Jail, a scaled-down version of what it designed for the military.
“I don’t care if you’re the meanest, toughest person in the world,” he says, “this will get your attention and make your brain focus on making it stop, rather than doing whatever you were planning on doing.” Riots are nothing new at this jail. The Pitchess Detention Center has a history of bloody inmate violence. In fact, the latest brawl between 200 inmates broke out two days after the Raytheon device was unveiled. Dave Judge, the operation deputy for the sheriff’s department, says the machine is more effective than their usual methods of firing rubber bullets and tear gas grenades. “This is tame; this is mild,” Judge says.” This is a great way to intervene without causing any harm. The nice thing about this is it allows you to intervene at a distance.” With the remote-controlled device, guards can focus on specific targets using a monitor and a joystick. Sheriff’s deputies had a field day testing the device on the media. “Ow!” yelled Estrella TV reporter Andres Herrera, a nervous volunteer, as he got zapped from across the room.