MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami Beach Police will put away their lethal shotguns and start using bean-bag shotguns as part of a change in policy.
Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates says it’s a more compassionate way to take someone into custody without using deadly force.
“We have an obligation to do everything we can to avoid use of deadly force and this is a new tool that is a less lethal tool that can incapacitate someone who is a danger to themselves or others,” said Oates.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine issued a statement on the change Wednesday saying in part,
“I commend our police chief and the entire police force on their commitment to public safety. As our community, state and nation engage in an important debate about public safety and the use of deadly force among minority communities, Miami Beach once again is leading the way on solutions that put the public’s concern and safety above all.”
The change will also help them measure how a change to bean-bag shotguns could help reduce incidents in which deadly force is used.
The policy change comes amid a growing number of shootings involving police officers throughout the United States including the most recent incident in Charlotte, North Carolina where a man died after being shot by police.
While bean-bag shotguns have been around for two decades, they are not commonly used in South Florida.
Oates says it is a significant shift for the department because their officers will now have a weapon that gives them a larger range of effectiveness to take someone into custody.
The mayor closed off his statement by saying he hopes other municipalities will follow their lead.