SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The police department is equipping officers with less-than-lethal force options, including shotguns.

Officers went through a five-hour training session Friday at McClellan to test out shotguns loaded with bean bags and pepper ball guns.

“Bob, this is the Sacramento Police Department, drop the knife please,” police yelled out during the training to a decoy suspect. “Bob, we need you to drop the knife [and] talk to us please.”

It gives police more distance and time to negotiate, but if all else fails, they can shoot off these guns and the suspect will survive.

“We don’t want to be put in the situations where we have to use deadly force,” said Officer Linda Matthew with the Sacramento Police Department.

These new bean bag-loaded shot guns will be given to each officer. The goal is to ultimately save lives.

“It’s not that we are disarming our officers on the street, it’s just that they will have more options to use, their handgun, the rifle, but it’s giving them another less-lethal option to use,” she said.

The department has been criticized in the past in cases like Joseph Mann.

He was shot by officers while wielding a knife.

New less-than-lethal shotguns and pepper ball guns will give police more options while protecting themselves and the public.

“We always take into account what we can change, what we can do better, how we can improve,” Officer Matthew said.

They’re improvements to hopefully gain the community’s trust.

The department will eventually replace all shotguns with less-than-lethal ones.
Many officers have already been equipped with them.

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