The Cook County, Ill., sheriff unveiled a “less lethal” 37mm gun yesterday that he says will give officers the ability to disarm violent or unruly suspects by stunning them with a polyurethane projectile shaped like an oversized champagne cork, says the Chicago Tribune.
The sheriff’s office bought six Sage SL-6 Launchers for about $2,000 each. “These new weapons are designed to … save lives and even minimize liability to the department,” said Sheriff Michael Sheahan, as officers demonstrated the launchers on a target outside the county’s Oak Forest Hospital.
Officers would aim the guns at a suspect’s lower arms or below the waist. The 3-inch-long “baton round” would smack the person with a force Sheahan likened to getting hit by a major-league fastball. “What it does is stun the person, and they think they got shot,” Sheahan said. One officer said the weapon “leaves a nasty bruise,” but if it hit the target in the head, it could be fatal.
The Chicago Police Department has had about half a dozen of the same guns since 1996, but they have never used them, Chicago police spokesman David Bayless said. Chicago police also are buying Tasers, a close-range stun gun that fires darts that convey an electrical charge to freeze the muscles of someone being subdued.