KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Lawrence, Kansas, Police Department announced this week they have completed a transition from “traditional patrol shotguns’ to something they describe as a “less lethal beanbag” option.
Lawrence Police Chief Rich Lockhart said in a release Thursday that the decision was “essentially a no-brainer.”
“Since I began my journey to reimagine policing in Lawrence, I knew this change would take place,” Lockhart said. “When they’re able, officers already utilize safer compliance options such as pepper spray and tasers.”
Lockhart says the department’s old shotguns had been part of standard use since the 1970s. As part of Thursday’s announcement, Lockhart said all of the old shotguns and ammunition had been “fully retired.”
Lawrence officers are set to complete training on the less lethal shotgun this week, with officers required to complete annual certification.
“No one wants an incident with a deadly outcome; not the police, not the community and certainly not the person in crisis nor that person’s family,” Lockhart said. “But the truth is, people in crisis or those committing violent crimes simply are not thinking rationally and our officers took an oath to protect the innocent and keep Lawrence safe and secure. Having more tools to confine, deescalate and conclude a dangerous situation, while reducing the risk of fatality, will always be our goal.”