Law Enforcement Technology

JAN 2016

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SPECIAL WEAPONS & AMMUNITION 22 Law Enforcement Technology January 2016 between their officers and their citi- zens. That's not to say that officers do not, or will not continue to, find themselves in dangerous and difficult situations. They always have, and they always will. Men and women who wear the badge must be able to protect them- selves. In addition to their patrol firearm, some are arming themselves with bean bag shotguns. The rounds fired from these specialized less lethal devices are unique in that they can take down an assailant, but usually do not result in a fatality. Today's models A bean bag round is a small fabric pil- low that is filled with #9 lead shot that weighs about 1.4 ounces, usually fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, and expelled about 250 to 300 feet per second. It spreads out in flight and distributes its impact over one square inch of the target. The bean bag round is designed to deliver a blow that will cause mini- mum long-term trauma and no pen- etration to the body. It will result in a muscle spasm to stop a potentially vio- lent suspect. Recent innovations have meant a change from a square to a more rounded sock-shaped projectile. Hollywood, Florida Police Chief Tomas Sanchez said he believes that bean bag guns can be a very good law enforcement tool. "Bean bag shotguns have been very effective at stopping people without using lethal force. We prefer using a less lethal weapon if a situation escalates to a point where we need to use a weapon; we don't want to use deadly weapons," says Sanchez. "Bean bag rounds allow us to sub- due a noncompliant subject without causing deaths. We want to prevent situations where there is a violent con- frontation between a law enforcement officer and a civilian. I don't want a situation to escalate to a point where a resident is putting their hands on an officer. I want all our officers to be able to defend themselves." "One more option" The Coral Springs, Florida Police Department has begun to issue bean bag shotguns to patrol officers. Again, the goal is to avoid a confrontation that leads to a death. "These guns fire a bean bag round that is not made to penetrate a per- son," said Coral Springs Captain Brad McKeone. "You target large muscle groups in the person you are firing at. You avoid the neck or head. You want to avoid a lethal result. By targeting the large muscle groups, you cause pain rather than death." The bean bag guns are used in spe- cific situations and provide an officer with a valuable tool that can be used to avoid a lethal response. " We have Tasers and pepper spray. This is just one more option that you have as opposed to having to use lethal force. It is not a danger to an officer, but it gives one more alternative to gain compliance without a lethal option. We wanted to deploy a less lethal fire arm," says McKeone. The company ARMA USA produc- es a bean bag gun that is highly effec- tive with knockdown power up to 20 feet away at 135 feet per second, with reusable bean bag projectiles. The simple release allows loaded cartridges to be inserted quickly. They are safer than electric shock devices. Rick Juler, the CEO of Less Lethal LLC, a distributor for AMTEC Less lethal Systems Inc. says that many law enforcement agencies actually prefer less lethal rounds of ammunition because this approach reduces fatal encounters between police officers and civilians. "In today's day and age, law The Penn Arms 12-ga. Striker shotgun is a 12-shot, spring advanced revolving magazine fed system. It can be used in both lethal and less lethal applications. "I don't want a situation to escalate to a point where a resident is putting their hands on an offcer. I want all our offcers to be able to defend themselves." — Hollywood, Florida Police Chief Tomas Sanchez

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