Beanbag Gun Use Not New, But Rare
For the first time in the history of Wisconsin-based Lafayette County, a law enforcement officer utilized a beanbag shotgun when a knife-wielding man in a park threatened to stab himself. The technology is up to 20 years old, according to Dennis Hanson, the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Training and Standards Bureau director. However, it is only used in special circumstances when a less-lethal use of force is required.
Not every police department in the state uses beanbag shotguns, and the technology is considered specialized and is not taught in basic law enforcement training programs, according to Hanson.
The technology involves the firing of a small, sock-shaped cloth wad containing BBs that serve to knock over suspects without causing serious injury.
Lafayette County Sheriff Scott Pedley asserts that in this instance, beanbag technology was “very, very effective” in subduing the suspect without using lethal force.
Pedley does point out that less-lethal options are not always the most effective choice for law enforcement officers, especially when dealing with an uncooperative suspect armed with a gun.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Dubuque Telegraph Herald (09/17/05) P. A1; Reber, Craig .