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Friday, December 15, 2000

Police dept.,
union agree on using
beanbag shotguns

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Honolulu police will be using beanbag shotguns more often, now that the department and the police union have agreed to permanent rules on when to use them.

Chief Lee Donohue and Alex Garcia, Oahu chapter chairman for the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, yesterday hailed the "less than lethal" weapon as a new option for officers placed in life-and-death situations.

Officers will be allowed to use the weapons only after eight hours of training and authorization is given from supervisors. Criteria for when officers use the beanbags will not be disclosed, Donohue said, for officer safety.

The "bullets" are bags of round metal pieces smaller than ball bearings. "It will cause an impact that will stop a threat and give us time to apprehend (a suspect)," the chief said.

"There were some misunderstandings, some misconceptions, about how and when it would be used and who would be approved, but we've clarified those issues, and we're happy that officers have this tool to use now," Garcia said.

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