After a successful pilot program, the NYPD is adding a new siren called The Rumbler to over 150 patrol cars; this bad boy blasts a palpable sound wave that can be felt up to 200 feet away. According to The Rumbler's manufacturer [pdf], the siren has "the distinct advantage of penetrating and shaking solid materials, allowing vehicle operators and nearby pedestrians to FEEL the sound waves and perhaps even see their effects through a shaking rearview mirror." The company also warns that the siren and speakers "may cause hearing damage," and those who use it are encouraged to wear ear protection.
The NYPD says The Rumbler is intended for use when police need to speed through busy intersections or get the attention of drivers distracted by their own musical cacophony. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne tells the Post, "It emits vibrations that can be felt, so drivers, even with their windows rolled up and stereos on, can be alerted to the approach of emergency vehicles."
NYPD officials were initially hesitant to use The Rumbler because people might be "frightened," but we'll all probably get used to this new abomination soon enough, and then the NYPD will have to install The Annihilater to get everyone's attention. Browne says that The Rumbler may be expanded to more vehicles soon.
Richard Turr, founder of the anti-noise pollution group NoiseOFF, has this to say: "The NYPD purchased and installed The Rumbler with no oversight, no public hearings, and with no evident liability for the massive noise pollution they are about to inflict on New Yorkers, all in the name of public safety... People assume that noise pollution is an irritant or an annoyance, but noise pollution is a public health issue and it is adversely affecting residents. For people who live near any of the dozens of police precincts around the city and the boroughs, this is going to be an acoustic nightmare."
Below, a video of The Rumbler in action.