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Seneca Falls PD puts two less-lethal beanbag shotguns into service

The Seneca Falls Police Department is providing officers with less-lethal beanbag shotguns.

The SFPD recently put two less-lethal shotguns into service, according to a release. The beanbag guns are stored separately from firearms meant to discharge lethal rounds. The devices are only ever loaded with “Super Sock” rounds, or small beanbags, in order to resolve some incidents without using deadly force.

Bean Bag Impact Weapon (left) and 2581 Super Sock rounds (right). Provided

Our duty is to ‘preserve human life,’ says Chief Peenstra

Other less-lethal options available to officers include tasers, the BolaWrap, pepper spray and batons. The SFPD said it regularly trains officers in the use of all options.

“The Seneca Falls Police Department recognizes and respects the value of human life and the dignity of every individual. It further acknowledges that the primary duty of our officers is to preserve human life. Less lethal munitions bridge a dangerous gap that has long existed within the police use of force,” said Chief Stuart Peenstra. “It is imperative that we continue to provide our officers with as much knowledge and tools to end a potentially volatile situation with as little force as possible. We continue to train to best handle interactions with non-compliant subjects to successfully end situations without having to risk serious injury to officers or subjects.”

Beanbag shotgun is a modified firearm

The “Bean Bag Impact Weapon” consists of a shotgun firing a special projectile that can be fired to encourage compliance, overcome resistance or prevent serious injury without the significant potential of causing death. The device is a standard Remington Model 870, 12-gauge shotgun that has been modified with an orange stick and foregrip.

According to a release, “No other type of lethal weapon system within the police department is modified to mimic the appearance of the less-lethal impact weapons. The police department has created a policy to store the shotgun to avoid any possible mix-ups. All munitions are wholly separate and different from lethal ammunition. Additionally, officers were instructed on a step-by-step verification process to ensure, on-scene, that the correct rounds are being loaded into the weapon system.”