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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 218032 
Title: Policing and "Hard" Technology (From The New Technology of Crime, Law and Social Control, P 133-152, 2007, James M. Byrne and Donald J. Rebovich, eds. -- See NCJ-218026)
Author(s): Don Hummer
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Criminal Justice Press/Willow Tree Press
Sale Source: Criminal Justice Press/Willow Tree Press
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter identifies advances in the technology of weapons currently used by police and reports on the "next generation" of nonlethal weapons designed to increase officer and citizen safety.
Abstract: The chapter notes that nonlethal weapons are a useful alternative to firearms when police officers are confronted by an unarmed but violent/resisting suspect or one armed with a crude but potentially lethal weapon such as a knife or bat. The author discusses the technology, effects, and critiques of the following types of nonlethal weaponry currently used by police: chemical irritants, primarily "pepper spray;" electric-shock immobilizing technology ("TASER" or "stun gun); rubber, plastic, and/or wooden bullet guns and beanbag shotguns; strobe and acoustical weapons; and non-electric immobilizing devices. The latter include water pressure, trap nets, and sticky foam. Another section of the chapter discusses technology designed to reduce the number of vehicular pursuits, such as barrier strips and technology designed to be deployed from a distance in causing a vehicle's engine or electrical system to malfunction. A discussion of technology designed for officer safety focuses on ballistic body armor and driver protections in the event of a patrol car crash. Although there are examples of deaths and injuries from police uses of the aforementioned types of nonlethal weaponry and devices, anecdotal evidence suggests that this technology has saved officer and citizen lives. From a political and public-relations perspective, however, there is a need for further empirical evidence to support and justify the continued use and development of various technologies used in nonlethal weaponry. 16 notes and 42 references
Main Term(s): Police weapons
Index Term(s): Less lethal technologies; Oleoresin Capsicum (OC)/Pepper Spray; Police equipment; Tasers
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