Don't Rumble Me, Bro!

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Forty-nine Washington, D.C. police cars have installed newfangled sirens that literally shake the ground and rattle passersby.

Meet the Rumbler. The high-tech blaster is being used along with the traditional siren. It 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 it from about 200 feet away.

Anything to calm down people who might be worried about cops blasting this as they drive past them on the street or speed through their neighborhoods?

"Once they see what it's attached to, they'll be all right," Assistant Police Chief Diane Groomes said. "They'll get used it."

More reasons to trust whatever the police do here.

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  1. How many car security alarms will it leave wailing in its wake?

  2. How many car security alarms will it leave wailing in its wake?

    How many pleasantly surprised ladies will this leave in its wake?

  3. Hey, at least cops get new toys… that seems to be the point of the whole thing.

  4. so, until people get used to it, they’ll first get distracted and think that their car is about to fall apart and rear-end someone.
    great!

  5. “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.”

    Damn, where can I get one of these to crunk up my ride?

  6. Wow, the mayor must have been smoking crack to come up with this idea.

    Oh, wait…

  7. low-frequency sound waves that shake everything, including rear-view mirrors.

    Good, so people won’t be able to see the police car as it approaches.

    Great idea!

  8. The Rumbler is meant to be used judiciously, in situations where motorists should pull over to make way for the police

    This almost guarantees that they will be used all the time for every situation ever.

  9. This almost guarantees that they will be used all the time for every situation ever.

    It’s all a lie. These are in fact subliminal instruction projectors, and will be blasting “OBEY”.

    I know because it’s sort of like what the aliens did in They Live.

  10. I know because it’s sort of like what the aliens did in They Live.

    It’s about time we turn to Rowdy Roddy Piper for policy input. I mean, can’t be any worse than the status quo, right?

  11. Club Med: Hier is why you don’t see much of Rowdy Roddy – he’s on URKOBOLD’s payroll, campaigning for GENERAL ZOD.

  12. Was Balko still asleep when this one came over the wire?

  13. Yeah, Rimfax – they weren’t running their sirens.

    Or Radley was drivin down U street, in his pimped out Escalade (18 inch, spinners, extra pipes, 36″ sub sub sub woofer in the back), crankin’ out his tunage.

    And for those of you who haven’t experienced the song “Knowing Me, Knowing You” when delivered on his system, well, let’s say we know when Julian changes his famous phrase!!

    [keed keed]

  14. C’mon, Rimfax, you should know by now that “Balko doesn’t sleep. He waits.”

    [Apologies to Chuck Norris. Really, Chuck, I didn’t mean anything by it. Don’t kick me, bro!]

  15. Sounds a lot like my harmonizer…

  16. It’s strange to me that the police didn’t feel compelled to offer a single example of why they need this. Have we had any problems in DC with people not getting out of the way?

  17. Living in a town where people only get out of the way if the cops and ambulances are going noticeably faster than them, it might be useful. But if the ignuts won’t move when the sirens and blinky lights are in the rear-view, how will this help? A self-absorbed asshat isn’t going to change his behavior because his rear view mirror shakes.

  18. They will damage their own ears. 😉

  19. Was it really a problem when each emergency vehicle had a single revolving red light?

    One more thing to get me confused and wondering what I am supposed to do. All the different sirens echo all over the place and I can’t figure out where the bloody cop and/or emergency vehicle is. I never had that problem when they just used a single siren tone & a single light.

    The worst is coming up on an accident at night on I-95 when it is raining and or foggy and there are multiple police, fire trucks and ambulances at the scene a blazing strobes and mutiple lights and flares thrown about. I don;t think that I am the only one that has a hard time figuring out what the cops and fireman want us to do and what lane to drive in.

  20. My office is near a police station. We get cops going by with sirens blasting 5 to 10 times per day.

    Oh S**T!

  21. Just more toyz for the boyz.

  22. If I heard one of these things, I would just assume that some kids are driving around with their music cranked up.

    Which would cause me to call the cops to register a noise complaint.

    Which would send the whole thing into a hilarious escalation.

  23. “Once they see what it’s attached to, they’ll be all right,” Assistant Police Chief Diane Groomes said. “They’ll get used it.” (my emphasis)

    He’s fuckin’ right you know. The fat dumb and contented American populace let’s the police get away with murder, literally. REMEMBER KATHRYN JOHNSTON!

  24. Thoreau –

    sadly, you’re right, and the result of it would be a midnight, no-knock raid on your neighbors as retaliation…

  25. I heard something about a plan like this in Madison, WI, too. The cops here were saying they had to do it because folks had stereos that made it impossible to hear real sirens.

    I have a feeling it’d make me think my car was falling apart. In fact, I think some cars probably WOULD fall apart.

  26. In my experience – including driving in the VA-MD-DC area – people get out of the way of emergency vehicles unless the situation makes it impossible to do so.

    Essentially the cops will now pull up behind solidly gridlocked traffic and will rumble the fillings out of your teeth, even though there’s nowhere for you to go.

    “Damn these stopped cars lined up in each lane, not getting out of our way!” the cops will cry. “Give ’em the rumbler, boys!”

  27. From the article:
    As part of the equipment upgrade, Lanier is slowly getting rid of the constantly flashing red and blue lights used by police cruisers when they patrol the streets, ending a practice her predecessor, Charles H. Ramsey, initiated in 2003 to make police cars more visible. Those lights drew complaints from some motorists who mistakenly thought they were being pulled over or that there was trouble ahead.

    If I understand this correctly, the police in DC drive around with the lights running all the time. WTF? People don’t resond to the lights because they are always on and this surprises the person running the police department?

  28. I might have to pick up some JL Audio 15s and some Reggaeton CDs to make my morning commute a lot easier.

    Or would that be impersonating a police officer?

  29. tijjer | October 29, 2007, 12:05pm | #

    I might have to pick up some JL Audio 15s and some Reggaeton CDs to make my morning commute a lot easier.

    Or would that be impersonating a police officer?

    Only if you also broke down an innocent person’s door at midnight, handcuffed them and pistol-whipped them.

    Then planted pot in their bedroom when you found you’d gone to the wrong house.

  30. Wonder what the pothole situation will be in DC this time next year.

  31. Only if you also broke down an innocent person’s door at midnight, handcuffed them and pistol-whipped them.

    Then planted pot in their bedroom when you found you’d gone to the wrong house.

    OH crap! You mean I can get in trouble for doing that?

  32. @Reinmoose

    Only if you’re not a cop…

  33. Gives new meaning to the term bedroom community.

  34. “Once they see what it’s attached to, they’ll be all right,”

    I know what you mean. I get that all the time!

    Ohhhhhh!

  35. VM-

    I just assumed that the mistaken location issue would lead them to Walden Pond in MA, rather than some other apartment in California.

  36. So, how many people were complaining they couldn’t hear a police siren?

  37. I’ll admit to a couple of times that I’ve almost gotten creamed by firetrucks blowing through just changed red lights (I had the green). Meekly, in my defense, these weren’t intersections with the best visibility in the world.

    Didn’t help that I had the stereo way the hell up, so yeah, a rumbler might have helped. I would have at least turned the music down to see what was wrong with my sub.

  38. 🙂

    that’s where they actually were headed, but got the address wrong. The fact that it happens near your current domicile is a sad coincidence…

    [ducks]

  39. Once they see what it’s attached to

    It will be impossible to figure out where to look. The full-spectrum sirens they use now already sound like they’re all over the damn place, unlike the old highly directional Dragnet ones, because different wavelengths travel through stuff — which the whole fucking world, even the invisible part, is made of — at different speeds and in different ways.

    The siren sounds and the “rumbler” sounds won’t seem to be coming from the same place — or any place, really — even if it’s right outside your head. But it’ll panic the civs, and give the pigs yet another excuse to beat and shoot them. Why, it’s almost like that’s the point.

    Almost.

  40. At work today we spent 20 minutes trying to figure out where this god-damned thumping sound was coming from. It was a crew dismantling a boiler at the end of the block. In a basement.

    Maybe the point is to confuse the street dealers. Instead of hearing a siren, they’ll just think it’s a homie rockin’ tha block wit’ phat subs yo. It should give the po the edge they need to fight the WoD.

    For the record, loud subs sound like shit 90% of the time. The other 10% is Wu-Tang.

  41. How does NWA sound through those woofers?

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