The Miami Beach Police will be switching from lethal shotgun loads to less-lethal “bean bag” rounds, replacing up to 140 patrol shotguns in the process.
The switch is part of an effort to maintain the trust and precarious relationship with the citizenry, as well as allow officer a chance to incapacitate a potentially dangerous or unruly suspect before resorting to lethal force.
“We have an obligation to be constantly looking for different options to move the organization forward and reduce the potential of inadvertently harming somebody,” Chief Dan Oates said.
The new shotguns will come with a six-week training program to get officers up to speed and their specialty ammunition will allow officers to have a standoff range of up to 70 feet- far beyond the 12 feet of range offered by Tasers.
“It creates greater space and distance for the office, and is another compassionate way to take someone into custody without having to use deadly force or expose the officer to that kind of grave danger,” Oates told NBC Miami.
While most less-than lethal shotgun ammunition can generally be used in any shotgun that can take a standard shell size, many departments opt for brightly-colored shotguns to differentiate between ammunition usage.
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