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Flagler Deputies Now Equipped With Bean-Bag Firing Shotguns For Less Lethal Encounters

| January 15, 2015

From left, Flagler County Sheriff's deputies Daniel LaVerne,  Craig Rossi and Jason Williams during training with shotguns equipped for less-lethal munitions.

From left, Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies Daniel LaVerne, Craig Rossi and Jason Williams during training with shotguns equipped for less-lethal munitions.

As debates about police tactics in violent encounters with individuals continue, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has converted 30 shotguns from its existing stock to use as less lethal weapons in such potentially perilous situations.

The conversion did not cost the department significant dollars: $750 to fit the weapons with orange markers, and $3.75 a round.


The Remington 870 shotguns are operational with a 12 gauge round called a “super sock,” also known as a bean bag, designed to distract and incapacitate a person, but not inflict penetrating trauma. The round is a fiber reinforced flexible sock filled with pellets. The weapon joins a list of less-lethal weapons and devices approved for use at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. Those include the familiar Taser guns, pepper spray, “impact weapons” such as batons, 40 mm rubber pellet rounds and chemical munitions–the 40 mm “barricade projectile” grenades, or flash grenades.

Sheriff’s deputies received additional specialized training to use the “super sock,” and their patrol cars will now be outfitted with the shotguns.

In mid-December, members of the SWAT team fired a “sponge grenade” at an individual who had been threatening to shoot himself with a gun, averting the more lethal result.

“It is important to me to have our deputies trained in every aspect of their jobs, especially the use of less lethal force which could result in a life being saved,” Sheriff Jim Manfre said. “Until now, only our SWAT personnel have been provided with this type of weapon, but now our road patrol
deputies will have them.”

A 'Super-sock' round. Click on the image for larger view.

A ‘Super-sock’ round. Click on the image for larger view.

Not all deputies will have them, though deputies equipped with the shotgun will still also be equipped with a rifle, Paula Priester, a spokeswoman with the Sheriff’s Office, said. Deputies who don’t have a rifle or a less lethal shotgun will carry a regular shotgun. The two types of shotguns are differentiated from each other by an orange stock.

“The less lethal weapon will reduce harm to the individual including bystanders and will result in a reduction of injury to law enforcement officers,” said SWAT Commander Michael Fink. “Just last month the SWAT Team apprehended an armed suicidal subject using a similar type of less lethal force,” he said, referring to the incident near Hammock Dunes bridge.

Use of the less lethal weaponry is controlled by a sheriff’s office policy, which notes, in part: “Intentionally discharging a Specialty Impact Munitions at a person’s head, neck or throat area, is considered a deadly force application.” Munition such as the super sock, when properly used, are supposed to be fired from a certain minimum distance, and at parts of the body that would incapacitate the individual, briefly, without causing lasting damage.

The policy also states that “Persons struck by a Specialty Impact munition will be examined by Emergency Medical Services personnel at the scene or as soon as practical,” with photographs required to be taken of every area of the body impacted by the munitions. “Any individual who is experiencing or complains of symptoms after use of an impact weapon, or who does not show signs of recovering within 5 to 15 minutes, will be provided immediate follow-up medical attention.”

The full policy appears below.

shotgun-converted

Less Lethal Weapons Policy, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (2014)

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8 Responses for “Flagler Deputies Now Equipped With Bean-Bag Firing Shotguns For Less Lethal Encounters”

  1. Reader says:

    I’m in total support of less lethal shotguns. I just hope none of these deputies get jammed up like this poor guy. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/chicago-area-police-officer-stand-trial-bean-bag-28190889

  2. orphan says:

    @ reader: And where is reason in this? (referring to the link you provided)?

    Is it really that obvious that we as a country have gone to “Let’s overlook the black-on-white” violence, and just pursue the “White on Black” violence?

    God help us all.

    • Reader says:

      Orphan,

      The problem with your thought process and logic is you’re focusing on race instead of facts. The facts are the officer in Chicago, who was black, used a less lethal shot gun to defuse a potentially deadly situation. Now if the officer in Chicago used his firearm to stop the threat, which he could’ve, instead of the less lethal shotgun, people would’ve asked “why didn’t the officer use other means.” The problem with our society is we have a large group of uneducated people who voice their opinion on law enforcement when they have no idea what the job is or how to do it. Regardless of race, religion, or creed, If you commit a crime you deserve to do the time. Now to answer your question Orphan, the reasoning in posting the link is this; The officer was arrested for doing his job. Now he’s facing jail time and the loss of his career because he made the right decision, which was to subdue a mentally ill subject without using deadly force. Even though the force that the officer used ended up being deadly force, the ultimate factor in this case is that his intentions were not to kill the subject, but to subdue him, regardless if he was 95 years old. People need to realize that the ultimate goal of every law enforcement officer working the street is to go home, SAFELY, at the end of their tour.

      • longman says:

        Reader,
        You really think that this 95yr old man was a threat to 5 officers? Look I understand the difficult situations officers face, but to shoot 5 to 6 bean bag rounds at a 95yr old man who uses a walker to get around is crazy. This chicken officer was in fear of what?

  3. Sherry Epley says:

    Why not just consider this as an article about a new tool that allows our police officers a less lethal option to use when protecting ALL the people in the USA. . . REGARDLESS of skin color?

    United we stand . . . divided we fall!

  4. Mark P Bialkoski says:

    Less lethal weapons have been part of Policing for centuries. The baton, mace and tasers to name a few. This is just one more option for our Law Enforcement personnel. Q

    I don’t think we should look backwards or what could have been about incidents with this article. We should just be glad to know that FCSO now has another option.

  5. Ben says:

    A girl in Boston after a Bosox World Series victory stampede lost an eye
    due to a bean bag fired chest high.

    Those munitions are no joke.

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