Rifles carried by Spokane, WA, police on patrol will soon be equipped with suppressors, a move the department says will protect officers and civilians from hearing damage, reports the Spokesman.

"It's nothing more than like the muffler you put on your car," said Lt. Rob Boothe, the range master and lead firearms instructor for the department.

Outfitting the department's 181 service rifles with suppressors will protect the city from the legal costs of worker's compensation claims filed by officers, as well as from potential lawsuits filed by bystanders whose ears are exposed to firearm blasts. The sound of a fired shot can be louder than the takeoff of jet engines, the department says.

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