Technological advances help all aspects of modern day society, and law enforcement is no different. Advancements in non-lethal force weapons and crowd control tools have helped police agencies across the country better deal with difficult situations without resorting to guns or other more dangerous means. One of these amazing new devices is the LED light. LED, or, light-emitting diode, is a type of light that is extremely powerful, long-lasting and efficient. Law enforcement officers have started using LED tactical torches for a number of different reasons, including search and rescue, crowd control, and everyday use. Before we look at how LED torches make a law enforcement officer’s life a lot easier, however, let’s explore the recent history of the remarkable LED.
LED tactical torches are a fairly new offshoot of traditional LED applications. When LEDs were first introduced they were used primarily for practical high-power applications, such as flashlights, area lighting, and indicator lights on electronic devices. LED lights come in a variety of colors and types, including infrared, visible, or ultraviolet. LED lights have also gained popularity as grow lights for indoor plants and are also used to sterilize and disinfect water and solid substances. Although LEDs have not been around for very long their durability and ease of use were immediately recognized and put to good use by a variety of different professionals.
LED lights and torches are superior to regular lights in a number of different ways. First, the type of light produced by LEDs is much brighter and more powerful. A few LED bulbs are all it takes to make an extremely high-powered beam, allowing manufacturers to make very compact handheld lights, such as the Coast LED Lenser HP P7. Another reason LED products are gaining popularity are because of their incredible efficiency. LEDs produce more light per watt than regular incandescent bulbs, making them perfect for handheld devices. LEDs are also very durable due to their nature as solid state components; they are hard to damage with external shock. And lastly, but probably most importantly, they have a very long life. The average LED lasts an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 hours, compared to the 10,000 to 15,000 hours you would get with a fluorescent bulb. The long life span of LEDs also means you save money by not having to constantly replace bulbs.
Law enforcement agencies have started using LED torches and area lights in a number of different ways, and to great success. The most commonly used LED tool is the torch, flashlight, or handheld light. LED torches run circles around traditional flashlights and search lights. Their brilliant beams help police officers search dark and dangerous areas safely. The durability of LEDs allows officers to be a lot harder on their torches or flashlights without having to worry about the bulb breaking. And their long lives mean officers don’t have to worry about their torch going out in the middle of a darkened search.
Search and rescue isn’t the only use for LEDs that law enforcement agents rely on. High-frequency flashing LEDs have been used recently as a very effective form of non-violent crowd control. Known as a strobing tactical torch, or LED incapacitator, this device employs a series of super bright pulses, strobes, light frequencies, and colors to confuse and disorient an attacker or riotous mob. Although these devices are still fairly experimental, test trials have proved promising and the LED incapacitator may soon be as common a non-lethal weapon as tear gas, pepper spray or Tasers.
Coast brand LED products offer the latest in beam focus technology at a great price. It’s no wonder, then, that law enforcement officers turn to Coast again and again for all their LED lighting needs. The advanced focus system Coast developed in their LED Lenser HP P7, for instance, provides a sharply focused beam with a range of up to 1,750 feet and is “a major step forward in flashlight focusing technology,” according to Coast president David Brands. “No longer will users see dark or hot spots in their flashlight beam.”
LED lighting products have come a long way since their invention in the early 1900s. Law enforcement officers have found LEDs crucial in almost every aspect of their jobs, from a routine traffic stop in the middle of the night to a high-risk search-and-rescue operation.
~Ben Nystrom, 2009