Bean bag rounds are no longer officers’ only less lethal option. Now there are dozens of impact rounds, launchers and sprays available to police officers.
Rick Wyant is a forensic scientist who has spent the past decade researching and documenting less lethal options for law enforcement.
“A lot of agencies are picking these up or have been using them for a while, and [it] basically gives you a baton strike but from a distance,” said Wyant.
Even though there are many options on the market right now, there’s no government guideline as to what police can use. That’s where Wyant’s research comes in.
“After the WTO riots, there wasn’t a lot of scientific data out there to support how these rounds affect people. What kind of wounds to expect. What kind of ranges. Are they safe at this range but dangerous at another range? So we started to compile some forensic tests data to test that,” he said.
Cutting edge breakthroughs include smart water that illuminates what it hits and the stain can’t be washed off.
“They call it a DNA round because it’s unique,” Wyant said. “The water in here is a unique mixture of heavy medals.”
The water stays on the skin and clothes for weeks which gives law enforcement much more time to find their bad guys.
“If they’re wearing masks or they’re wearing hoods and we mark them with a round such as this, we can say not only do I think that’s the guy, you know that’s the guy.”
Then there are rounds designed just to smell bad. They can clear a crowd pretty quickly without leaving a lasting aroma.
This is just one more option in a growing arsenal of less-lethal weapons that Wyant is helping police understand better.
“So our goal with this book is to help police agencies understand the capabilities as well as the limitations of our less lethal devices to increase safety and effectiveness of when they are deployed,” he said.