Less-Lethal Technologies

Police officers sometimes need to control violent, combative people. Their actions under such circumstances are governed by use-of-force protocols.

Less-lethal technologies give police an alternative to using other physical force options that potentially are more dangerous to officers and suspects. The technologies currently in use include conducted-energy devices (such as Tasers), beanbag rounds, pepper spray and stun grenades.

NIJ Focuses on Making Arrests Safer

The goal of NIJ's less-lethal program is to provide law enforcement and corrections officers with equipment that protects them and the public, reducing the possibility of injury or death. NIJ collaborates with international experts from various fields (for example, medical, scientific, military) when conducting or coordinating research.

Prominent areas of inquiry include:

  • Enabling law enforcement and corrections agencies to safely deny individuals or groups access to areas.
  • Making projectiles safe at any distance by modeling the technology and techniques that officers can use to deliver less-lethal force.
  • Understanding the human health effects of less-lethal technologies, including chemical, kinetic energy and Conducted Energy Devices such as Tasers.
  • Analyzing information about incidents of the use-of-force against humans, including the nature of the force applied and the nature of injuries suffered.
Date Modified: June 2, 2011