Corvallis Police Dept. converting shotguns to fire less lethal a - KPTV - FOX 12

Corvallis Police Dept. converting shotguns to fire less lethal ammunition

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CORVALLIS, OR (KPTV) -

Corvallis police officers are trying out something new. They're converting every single shotgun in the department to fire new less lethal ammunition. 

Officers are hopeful this new idea might save lives. 

The Corvallis Police Department says over the years, they've noticed their shotguns have become obsolete tools. 

"We found shotguns weren't being deployed on critical incidents, or calls where we need to have that extra option," said Lt. Daniel Duncan. 

For that reason, Duncan says the department got to thinking about how best to utilize the weapons and they came up with the idea of converting them all to use less lethal ammunition.

"Why not give them the less lethal option that gives them not only the less lethal option, but the distance that you don't get with pepper spray, or Taser," said Duncan. 

It was an easy sell to officers in the department, but quite the process to make the switch.   

"In order to make sure these shotguns aren't used with lethal ammo, we had to get rid of all of it, which included going through every patrol car, every desk, every locker, every patrol bag and making sure there was absolutely no lethal ammo left in the building or in cars," Duncan added. 

CPD then traded in all that ammunition for less lethal rubber bullets. 

"The official term is a Burns 1401 pancake round, it is a rubber polymer," said Duncan. 

The pancake rounds expand on impact with soft tissue or muscle. The department went through weeks of training to understand how use the new less lethal bullets effectively.  

"It can cause a broken bone if it hits the right area, but the idea is to aim for large muscle groups, arms, thighs, buttocks, and avoid those areas that cause major damage to someone's body," said Duncan. 

The department also swapped out the grips and stocks on every shotgun and replaced them with bright orange ones. They added labels that say "less lethal."  

In all it cost them about $3,000. 

"It's clearly indicated not only for citizens, but other officers from different jurisdictions so they know," Duncan said. 

CPD says their officers are still always armed with lethal weapons. The converted shotguns simply provide them with another tool to use under the right set of circumstances. 

"When we do have the incident that requires us to need distance and time and a less lethal option, it will be there for our officers," said Duncan.

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