How metro Phoenix police departments are handling non-lethal weapons

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Thursday, January 12, 2023 - 12:17pm

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Several metro Phoenix police agencies are discontinuing the use of bean bag shotguns after questions arose about the speed at which they are deployed — and how dangerous they can be.

ABC15 reported Phoenix Police Department, Goodyear Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public safety have all gotten rid of this type of less-than-lethal weapon. But the Phoenix police are not getting rid of all less-than-lethal weapons.

KJZZ News reported that the Phoenix Police Department is expanding its pilot program to give 800 officers over the next two years more forms of non-lethal equipment. That includes pepperball launchers, which create a cloud of chemical irritant that disorients people, and 40mm launchers, which can project a sponge-tipped grenade to temporarily disable someone.

So what exactly are non-lethal weapons? And how safe are they?

To find out, The Show reached out to Arizona State University's Bill Terrill, an expert in criminology and criminal justice and associate dean of the Watts College of Public Service.

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