Perhaps now, more than ever there is an expectation that Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) will only use deadly force as an absolute necessity. Time and again we see LEOs tried in the media with regards to a deadly force incident. I am not here to debate the validity of deadly force situations, instead I would like to talk about technology meeting the expectation of capturing suspects alive. There was a time not so long ago where an LEO could shoot a fleeing felon, and that use of deadly force would be considered justified. Since that era of policing two major determinations were made in the Courts.

Tennessee v. Garner: “Under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others” (1985).

Graham v. Connor: “The Court determined that an objective reasonableness standard should apply to a civilian’s claim that law enforcement officials used excessive force in the course of making an arrest, investigatory stop, or other “seizure” of his person” (1989).

So Tennessee v. Garner ensured that a suspect would not be shot while fleeing, and Graham v. Connor boils down to using the necessary amount of force which is “reasonable” while making an arrest. So how can an LEO, reasonably arrest a suspect where deadly force isn’t a viable option? Enter the less than lethal tools. There are many less lethal tools, but what follows is my list of the top 5 less than lethal tools. I took into consideration: cost, easy-of-use, effectiveness, damage caused, and practicalness.

TOP 5 Less Lethal Tools

OC Spray (oleoresin capsicum) aka Pepper spray:

Depending on your delivery system this product can be effective from a few feet to 100 feet away (deployed from a launcher). OC uses a chemical compound that irritates the eyes causing pain, blurred vision, tears, and a reduced ability to fight. Having experienced it first hand I can tell you it is not pleasant. (Video courtesy of MilitaryNotes YouTube channel).

Collapsible Baton: