The pressure on American law enforcement agencies to field tools that can subdue dangerous armed and unarmed individuals without using deadly force has never been greater than today. Officers are now operating in an environment where every police shooting is scrutinized by the public and the press not in terms of legal justification but in terms of necessity. And even officer-involved shootings where the suspect wielded a gun or fired at the officer can be ginned up as acts of excessive force and police brutality by anti-police activists.
The answer according to many experts is less-lethal weapons that can be fired from a distance and effect subjects with blunt force or chemical irritant or both. These tools are not new but the philosophy about using them, when to use them, and which officer should have them is changing.