Officers receive less lethal training

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - An area law enforcement agency is working to pass knowledge of less lethal options to officers in other agencies.

The Craighead County Sheriff's Department hosted a "Less Lethal Training Class".

Captain Justin Rolland with the Craighead County Sheriff's Department said the class has taken a week to complete.

"We've had several classes going on out here the last couple of weeks," Rolland said. "The one this week is a less lethal instructors class. Deputy Randy Sharp is a trained officer for the Sheriff here in Craighead County who is also a Master Instructor for Amtech and Less Lethal Systems out of Florida. With the company, we sponsored a Less Lethal Class here at the Sheriff's Department."

Rolland said it's vital to give officers other options when dealing with suspects.

"Just as we equip our officers and our deputies with lethal weapons, such as firearms," Rolland said. "It's equally or more important to equip those same officers with the less-lethal capabilities. These less-lethal capabilities consist of your bean bag rounds, your impact rounds and things like that. Things that will be less lethal to the suspect. And what it does is it basically gives these officers and these deputies that option if it's possible. So, it's extremely important that we equip our officers with some type of less lethal weapon or ammunition."

Rolland said it's up to the officers on scene to assess the situation and decide if less lethal force is an alternative.

"The suspect will not always give the officer that option," Rolland said. "That suspect may very well escalate the situation to deadly force really quick. But there's a gray area in there as well. And so, if they're within that situation where it's applicable then absolutely. It gives those officers that option that they don't have to resort to deadly force if it's available and if that option exists. And so, we equip the officers with those less lethal options. And in certain situations, they're able to deploy that. It's extremely important and a great idea."

Rolland said officers from other states traveled to Jonesboro to gain the knowledge.

"We've had several agencies participate in this class," Rolland said. "These agencies consist of departments throughout the state of Arkansas, as well as other states. We've got officers here from Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. We had a really good turnout and a really good week of training here."

The Less Lethal Class taught was for instructors.

Rolland said now those officers can take that knowledge to their agencies and share with the officers in their departments.

"Our less lethal options," Rolland said. "And the less lethal weapons that are available to law enforcement today are extremely effective. And those options have been around for years. It's just that we as departments and agencies across this country, I think we have a responsibility whenever possible to deploy those kinds of options."

They sponsor the Less Lethal Class every year and open it up to other agencies.

For more information, log onto their website by clicking here.

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