HOULTON, Maine The words less lethal are emblazoned on the new shotguns the Aroostook County Sheriff's Department just received. The guns are meant for certain situations the Deputy Sheriff's could encounter.
Sheriff Darrell Crandall says, "Someone not actively pursuing anybody with a weapon but they may have a knife or a sword or a bat and they're swinging it. That's a situation you can't allow to escalate."
He says this new weapon system gives his Deputy's another tool when making the difficult decision on use of force. The less lethal munition is also referred to as a bean bag round. It can be used at a safer distance compared to a tazor.
He says, "You have to be careful not to close the distance too much. You don't want to unnecessarily escalate these situations to the point where deadly force does become necessary."
Crandall is quick to point out that this weapon system is not meant for violent criminals actively trying to injure someone.
"Whether that be a deputy sheriff or a member of the public and they are using deadly force. Every time we will meet that deadly force with deadly force."
Houlton Police Chief Joe McKenna used this weapon system when he worked in Florida, and will also be deploying the less lethal munition for his officers in the near future.
Mckenna adds, "Anytime you can get another tool to use to minimize the use of lethal force, then we'd be negligent not to have those things."
And from a financial perspective, Sheriff Crandall says this weapon system did not come at the taxpayers expense.
"We take those funds from money that was seized and forfeited from drug dealers so the taxpayers are not paying for this weapon system," he says.
Policies and Procedures are in place, and each Deputy sheriff has been trained and issued this weapon.