The co-chairmen of the Law Enforcement Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives hosted a briefing Thursday, May 14 on police use of less-lethal technology and practices to reduce use of force during arrests and other situations that could lead to a use of force.
Police Foundation Vice President Jim Burch moderated the briefing, which brought together law enforcement leaders and industry representatives of firms that produce less-lethal technologies. The briefing was presented to House congressional staff involved in criminal justice policy.
Caucus co-chairman Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-New Jersey, said the briefing was in response to the need to ensure that police continue to have the resources to protect themselves and the community, but also become more responsive to concerns about police use of force.
“Continuing advances in technologies offering less-than-lethal force offer the potential for police to maintain that protection, while reducing the possibility of death to suspects,” Pascrell said.
Burch, the former Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, noted that a study conducted by the National Institute of Justice found that, when officers used less-lethal technology like pepper spray to aid arrests, those taken into custody were 65 percent less likely to suffer serious injury than when officers made arrests using only their hands.