Fairbanks Police Department practices non-lethal weapon training

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 4:48 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - If at any point over the past week you were near the police station and the sounds of gun shots alarmed you, there’s no need to worry. The Fairbanks Police Department has been conducting training sessions with less lethal weapons.

Ron Dupee, the chief of police in Fairbanks, says “As a department we don’t want to use any more force than we absolutely have to, and these are just extra tools in our tool belt to be able to de-escalate the situation as quick as possible.”

This week, Fairbanks officers have been working to become re-certified in less lethal training exercises.

Dupee says one of the newer tools being mastered is pepper-ball-guns. These guns mimic the effects of a typical pepper spray, except the user does not have to be in such close proximity to the targeted person.

“We’ve had less lethal options since I got hired here in 2005,” Dupee said. “We’ve had pepper spray, Taser, more recently we’ve introduced the pepper-ball-gun. We’ve had the less lethal shotgun with the bean bag rounds for quite a while.”

A concerned citizen called the police department Wednesday expressing worry regarding the sounds of consistent gunshots.

On Thursday, to ease the minds of the public, the Fairbanks Police Department posted on their Facebook to clarify the situation. Dupee said, “We’ve had several cases over the years that we’ve utilized the less lethal options and have been very successful with keeping it from escalating to other uses of force, up to including deadly force. So, the tools are a great option for the officers to be able to de-escalate situations and resolve things at a lower level.”

Chief Dupee adds that none of the officers want a bad situation to become deadly if it doesn’t have to, which is why the non-lethal options and training are so important.

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