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Less Than Lethal Weapons

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 347
  • Category: Police

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For many years law enforcement has faced controversy about officer involved shootings. The use of non-lethal force has alleviated a lot of these occurrences. Law enforcement now has many options other than firing there guns. Some developments in the less than lethal weapons include the taser which is a stun gun that incapacitates a human target by generating a series of powerful electrical output pulses across first and second space apart output terminals in response to closure of a trigger. Tasers are the most popular non-lethal weapon used by law enforcement. Law enforcement also has use of non-lethal munitions like a 12-gauge shotgun that shoots what are called bean-bag or rubber bullets. Theses devices can be used to subdue an armed suspect if possible. Another development in non-lethal weapons are chemical agents such as tear gas and pepper spray. These devices are used to disperse large crowds of people or temporarily incapacitates individuals who pose a threat to law enforcement or the public.

The need to project a chemical agent further distances has lead to the development of compressed air weapons, which fire projectiles containing chemical weapons. Yet another non-lethal weapon used by the police are impact weapons, which are probably the oldest form of non-lethal police protection. Impact weapons are used primarily for striking specific target areas of a violent and resisting offender to stop an attack and gain control by causing dysfunction or pain. Current technology has provided police officers with a range of options to overcome suspect resistance. After deciding which weapons to carry on their person, either for a particular incident or consistently, each officer is burdened with deciding upon his or her own response to a suspects resistance. We must remember that while less than lethal technology continues to evolve, there is no perfect weapon currently in existence that will immediately stop unlawful resistance yet will cause no harm to the receiver.


Bertomen, L.(2005).Launching Less Than Lethal Rounds. Law Enforcement Technology, 32(2), 112-119. Smith, R. (2006). Non-lethal Weapons:Safety Data Field Results American Academy of Forensics Sciences.

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