Police across the country are making use of technology used in the military, that is designed for combat.
Some lie about the technology they use to protect and serve their communities. USA Today found that, for a few years now, that some police forces are utilizing a special device designed to thoroughly scan a building for any presence of a human in it. The information was only presented during a court trial, where a Denver police officer confessed to using a Range-R.
The officer went on to describe the handheld device as a “hand-held Doppler radar device.” He adds,”It picks up breathing, human breathing and movement within a house.” In the case, Denver police were attempting to arrest someone who violated their parole.
The manufacturer of the device explains that the device operates by being held up against a wall, then the programmer will push a few buttons that will emit radar scans through walls to detect any people in a room. The radar device maps out a conical view of 160 degrees, and has a 50 feet range.
Though it “will penetrate most common building wall, ceiling or floor types — including poured concrete, concrete block, brick, wood, stucco glass, adobe, dirt,” but doesn’t work well with metal. If a wall is wet, it can weaken the effect of the device scan. This handy device costs around $6,000.
It will concern many who value privacy, as there is no law stipulating that police officers can’t place one of these devices on anyone’s wall to check if they are home. The Supreme Court heard a case (Florida v.Jardines) back in 2013, that involved police dispatching a drug-sniffing dog to the porch of a suspect. There, the dog had sniffed out marijuana plants, and the suspect was arrested.
The court suppressed the evidence, citing the Fourth Amendment as they argue that,”the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.” It adds that the area surrounding the home “is part of the home itself for Fourth Amendment purposes.” When the Range-R is activated, it isn’t likely you will know that it is happening.
I have tried to contact the manufacturer of Range-R, L-3 Communications, to question them on how many of the devices they have sold to local law enforcement. I promise an update once I receive the answer to that question. The same goes for the question I asked to some local law enforcement precincts, wondering if they use this technology.
I certainly would understand why police would want up to date technology, and the same goes for their lack of admittance to using the product. The thing is, is it really right?
There will still be temptation to using the product without a warrant, and in the case of the so-called stingrays (devices used to copy cell towers to receive phone data), the FBI views warrants aren’t needed. Now that modern technology is becoming intrusive and easily accessible by government officials, the idea of our homes being a locked away haven, is entirely false. We should be warned.
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