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Less-Lethal Toolbox: Law Enforcement Officers Test the Products on the Use-of-Force Continuum

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 30 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2003 Pages: 64-69
Lindsey Bertomen
Date Published
October 2003
6 pages
This article offers a review of some of the less-lethal applications currently available to law enforcement officers.
Law enforcement officers are taught to view the use of force as a continuum, with a subject’s actions dictating the level of force that should be used. Less-lethal options are crucial for law enforcement officers who require some use of force to gain the compliance of a subject. In order to provide a current review of the less-lethal options available, Law Enforcement Technology asked experts to test some of the more popular methods and tools available. Three styles of expandable batons were tested: Winchester’s 29-inch nickel and 26- and 21-inch zinc batons, ASP’s 26-inch and 21-inch batons, and Monadnock’s 26-inch Autolock baton. ASP batons received excellent reviews, while the other manufacturers’ batons received positive but mixed reviews. The protective armor of the Tegman Mawashi Riot and Correctional Crowd Control Armor was similarly reviewed by experts. After describing the features of the armor, the reviewers concluded that this armor was effective at protecting officers from harm while still allowing the flexibility of movement. Next, pepper spray products from Enforcement Technology Group and from PepperBall Technologies -- Jaycor International were tested. Range of spray, lag time between spray and reaction, and lasting effects of the sprays were considered. Different sprays are recommended depending upon the distance of the subject from the spray and they desired effects. Finally, the article presents reviews of the PepperBall System, which fires spheres from a gun not unlike a paintball marker. The reviewers agreed that the PepperBall System is the champion of less-lethal options. It can be fired from 100 feet away and can be used on unruly crowds effectively. Such less-lethal options are crucial tools for law enforcement officers.