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Non-Lethal Weapons: A Tool for Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume: 6 Issue: 1 Dated: (February 1990) Pages: 37-43
M Biggs
Date Published
7 pages
The varying situations faced by law enforcement officers require that they be prepared to use differing levels of escalating force, including the use of nonlethal weapons.
Nonlethal weapons include chemical agents, batons, saps, stun guns, and restraints. They allow the application of force but often offer psychological advantages over the use of deadly force. Training in the use of nonlethal weapons must be timely, include background on weapon development and use, and require the trainee to demonstrate a certain level of expertise in weapon use. From a liability standpoint, the use of nonlethal weapons should also require ongoing training that encompasses the continued demonstration of expertise and an evaluation of this expertise by qualified instructors. This will insure that the user has maintained proficiency. Equally as important as training is the need to recognize when the application of nonlethal weapons is appropriate. Although nonlethal weapons are not without drawbacks, they are necessary tools of the law enforcement profession. 6 references. (Author abstract modified)