News / Calgary

Calgary police looking at less lethal weapons to arm frontline officers

The Calgary Police Service is currently examining a variety of less lethal systems to provide frontline officers with additional use of force options.

Although CPS won't say what less lethal options they have their eye on, one option could be blunt force projectiles. 

In this Thursday, July 30, 2015 photo, Salvatore Emma Jr., president and CEO of Micron Products, displays Blunt Impact Projectiles, one ready for use, left, and another after being fired during a test at the factory in Fitchburg, Mass. The projectiles utilize new technology developed by the company to provide law enforcement with less-lethal ammunition engineered to cushion and displace the force of impact, designed to cause pain and discomfort but not serious injury. The technology is part of a push to find ways for law enforcement to be able to use force with non-deadly means. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Canadian Press

Although CPS won't say what less lethal options they have their eye on, one option could be blunt force projectiles. In this Thursday, July 30, 2015 photo, Salvatore Emma Jr., president and CEO of Micron Products, displays Blunt Impact Projectiles, one ready for use, left, and another after being fired during a test at the factory in Fitchburg, Mass. The projectiles utilize new technology developed by the company to provide law enforcement with less-lethal ammunition engineered to cushion and displace the force of impact, designed to cause pain and discomfort but not serious injury. The technology is part of a push to find ways for law enforcement to be able to use force with non-deadly means. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Calgary Police Service is eyeing less lethal options when it comes to weapons used by frontline officers—but they won’t say what those options are quite yet. 

Staff Sgt. Jason Bobrowich said the CPS is currently examining a variety of available less lethal systems to provide frontline officers with additional use of force options. 

“Part of this process is to benchmark with other agencies across Canada and determine what type of less lethal systems are currently being used and that will provide us with the basis for our own analysis and research for potentially moving forward with purchasing a less lethal system,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t go into details about what systems they’re looking at before they enter the purchasing stage.

Bobrowich said using less lethal systems isn’t something new for Calgary police. 

“Within the Calgary police service we’ve used less lethal systems for a significant number of years already,” he said. “Whether it’s in our public safety unit or in our tactical unit we’ve had a variety of less lethal systems deployed with our officers for a number of years—dating back to 1999.”

Some of those systems are Tasers, the Arwen or a 40 mm (the Arwen and 40 mm are extended range systems that fire a specific type of less lethal ammunition, according to Bobrowich).

Bobrowich said the goal of less lethal weapons is to provide officers with the best possible option for safely resolving high risk situations, and CPS is always looking for the what might be the best tool in doing that. 

“This is a matter of always being proactive in trying to find the best options and the best tools we can provide our frontline officers,” he said. 

“We want to safely resolve situations that may be emerging or spontaneous so that we can deal with them effectively and make sure that we are providing our frontline officers with those systems that are able and capable of resolving those situations.”

Dr. Kelly Sundberg, a justice professor at Mount Royal University said in his view it’s not so much about the tools or weapons, but all about training and frequency of training. 

 “I think that every few years would probably be advisable to do in-service — a day or two— of firearms or use of force training in a classroom setting where they can also talk about the issues they see and how to resolve them safely,” he said.

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