Rockford police used a different type of weapon to stop a man who threatened them with a knife, in an attempt to get officers to shoot him.
Phillip Douglas, 44, is in custody after police used a less-lethal shotgun to subdue him.
“It did what we wanted it to do: incapacitated the subject,” said training investigator for the Rockford Police Department, Investigator Chris Aldrich. “And the officers were able to get the subject in custody, and take the person to the hospital for a mental evaluation at that point.”
Rockford police say they often employ the use of intermediate tools, such as tasers, pepper spray, and the less-lethal shotguns, in order to neutralize dangerous situations without causing permanent injury or death.
“These are called out for specific purposes, such as an emotionally disturbed person who might be causing harm to others, or a potential threat to themselves, or officers, or a third party,” said Investigator Ed King, also a Training Investigator for the intermediate tools.
Rockford’s police department was one of the first in the state to use the less-lethal shotguns, in 2003.
Each officer who is able to use them must go through a Crisis Intervention Training program.
The shotguns are very accurate, shooting 40 grams of lead weight in a cloth delivery system.
They can pack a punch of up to 110 foot-pounds of kinetic energy.
“We’ve had great success with it stopping people from harming themselves or others,” said King. “(In situations ) where we would be justified in using deadly force, but we try to use less lethal first.”
And investigators say this is just one tool they have to achieve their goals of de-escalating dangerous situations.
“You know, we train for the worst and hope for the best,” said Investigator Aldrich. “We want to be ready so that if that option doesn’t work, we’re not getting someone needlessly hurt, or worse. Whether that be another officer or somebody else in the community.”