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Using Shotguns as Less-Lethal Weapons

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2018
2 pages
This feature article from the July-August 2018 issue of TECHBeat discusses the rationale and procedure used by the Corvallis Police Department (Oregon) in repurposing its 12-guage pump-action shotguns for use as less-lethal weapons.
Dan Duncan, the public information officer for the department explained the rationale for this change: "The conversion took away a long-standing lethal option that we were not deploying or using and gave us one more less-lethal option when we come into a situation." He further commented that a Taser or pepper spray may not be an effective tool in a particular scenario. The less-lethal shotgun round is made of a polymer material designed to "pancake" or flatten on impact. The shells of the ammunition are transparent, with an orange band and label for high visibility. The shotgun can deliver less-lethal rounds a distance of up to approximately 25 yards. In order to guard against the accidental use of live rounds, the department removed all standard live shotgun ammunition from the department's building and vehicles. In patrol vehicles, officers carry patrol rifles and their assigned handguns, along with the less-lethal shotguns. Other less-lethal options used by the department include Tasers and pepper spray. The department regularly trains officers in the use of both standard and less-lethal weapons.

Date Published: August 1, 2018