Lafayette Police using new weapons to avoid lethal force

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Lafayette Police Chief Thomas L. Glover Sr. said the most important issues in policing today are training and use of force. Since taking office 5 months ago, he’s taken multiple steps to make sure the hub city is at the forefront of both.

During the May 19 city council meeting, Glover shared the Lafayette Police Department is starting to use new “less lethal” weapons in addition to their tasers as safeguards against deadly force.

“We’re doing everything that we can to continue to preserve the sanctity of life,” Glover explained.

Lafayette police officers have a new tool in their patrol unit, and its purpose is to save lives. Instead of using deadly force once a taser fails, the Lewis Machine 40 mm launcher can be used anywhere from 5 feet away to up to 120 feet to subdue a threatening suspect.

Each supervising officer and patrolman is equipped with three less lethal rounds. They’re designed not to penetrate like a bullet but deliver kinetic energy with a firm foam tip.

“Quite frankly, it will feel like Mike Tyson punched you and knocked you down, and we can be able to take control of that situation,” Glover stated. Lafayette Police ordered a total of 120 less lethal launchers, and the remaining 18 are expected to arrive in the coming months.

The agency is also investing in technology it previously chose not to purchase in 2019. A series of Bola wraps have been ordered which shoot an 8-foot barbed Kevlar cord to entangle a person at a range of 10 to 25 feet.

Glover described like it this: “If you’re a fan of Batman and Robin who used to have a utility belt, and they pull little device out and press a button, and it’d shoot out and it’d wrap a person up, we’ve ordered a series of those for our department.”

Along with increasing its equipment, LPD has increased its training in de-escalation, hostage negotiation, recognizing mental illnesses, and much more. Glover told the council next year’s budget will ask for additional officers and the funding to start the Rapid Integrated Group Healthcare Team (RIGHT) Care Program.

Glover said the RIGHT Care Program would a paid positions for a recognized, credentialed mental health experts who “respond with police officers and when the need arises, they will be able to take over the situation.” He added the program is already used in Oakland, Newark, Denver, and his long-time residence of Dallas.

“It’s been repeated all over this country, and might I add very successfully,” he stated. “It’s a very good program, and we are going to be concentrating on that.”

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