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IMPD unveils the 'Less Lethal Launcher,' a de-escalation tool

Posted at 11:16 AM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 11:16:30-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has unveiled what they call a "de-escalation" tool. It's called the "Less Lethal Launcher."

The goal of the new gun is to bring dangerous situations to an end before deadly force is used.

The de-escalation tool is a shotgun that fires soft rounds from a kevlar bag filled with lead pellets.

Every weapon has an orange color on it with the words "Less Lethal" on it. That way officers don't get confused and load lethal ammunition into the gun.

IMPD officials say officers will typically use this option when they are confronted with someone who is armed or is threatening to harm the officers or themselves.

"The biggest thing with the launcher that we have found is by changing the approach with this tool, we are able to use it in the situations and lives have been saved," a Less Lethal Launcher expert explained to WRTV. "On this agency alone, since we deployed it about four years ago, there has been situations in the past that more than likely would have resulted in a fatal police action shooting. But because they were successful with the launcher deployment, it resulted in them being able to save that person's life."

IMPD began training with the Less Lethal launchers in 2017. Officers are only supposed to use the tool when covered by a partner and never when they are solo.