GREENSBORO, NC -- Imagine hearing a voice yelling your name -- more than a half a mile away!
That's actually a possibility with the Greensboro Police Department's newest purchase to keep people safe.
Now, even if police can't see you -- you can definitely hear them.
A Long Range Acoustic Device will transmit a Greensboro police officer's voice more than 3,000 feet.
Captain Jonathan Franks with GPD says it can be used for alerts for everything from riots to missing children to weather disasters.
"I am sure, positive, 100% that in certain instances it will be able to not only save one life but numerous lives," said Franks.
Therefore, if you're standing on top of the Kress Building on Elm Street in downtown Greensboro and police decide to set off the LRAD, it could be heard as far as New Bridge Bank Park, where the Greensboro Grasshoppers play baseball.
The LRAD system safely broadcasts voice messages, notifications, instructions, warnings and commands to individuals or large crowds in a wide variety of law enforcement situations.
The system can be used to control crowds during parades, festivals, concerts and sports events. The LRAD can help officers establish safety zones and enforce perimeters, control traffic congestion, conduct SWAT operations, and disperse crowds.
It can also help police during standoff situations to end hostage and barricaded subject incidents.
Also, the LRAD can allow parents or guardians to record a personalized message to be broadcast for a missing child.
In uncertain or escalated public safety situations, LRAD fills the critical gap between the limited range and poor intelligibility of bullhorns and vehicle P.A. systems.
Sergeant J.E. Armstrong says the LRAD is a game changer for communication between police and the public.
"If we can effectively communicate to that whole neighborhood, we reduce the chances of anybody getting hurt," said Armstrong. "Safety! Safety was our biggest concern. The PA system that we have on our cars now they are very distorted and you can't understand what the officers are saying so this really helps us out in that department."
LRAD's audio technology focuses sound in a 15-30 degree beam in front of its speaker while reducing the ambient noise behind the audio devices and in surrounding areas.
The system's broadcasts are optimized to the primary hearing range of 1-5 kHz to generate voice messages that can be heard up to two miles away, depending on the weather and the surrounding area.
GPD spent roughly $13,000 on its LRAD system about two months ago.
Police in Greensboro still have to figure out exactly how, when and where to use it -- but they hope to have the LRAD up and running by the beginning of next year.
Officials are currently in the process of drawing up a policy for how to use the system properly.
Police in St. Louis used it to break up riots in Ferguson after Michael Brown's death in August.
Other police departments across North Carolina including Charlotte and Durham have invested in the system as well.