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Business Management

A potential tech solution to police shootings

This week yet another high profile police shooting has sent shock waves through America. This is an ongoing story that has been prominent on social media and has featured especially high on the news agenda since the fatal shooting of black teenager, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August last year.

Now one company, Alternative Ballistics, in California has emerged after “almost 10 years” of trail and error to test a potential solution. This is a device which is placed on the front of the gun to “capture” the bullet. Named The Alternative, Christian Ellis, Chief Executive Officer tells us his team has been through “many, many years of testing and design changes to get to this design”.

Essentially, The Alternative is an appendage which “sits in a pouch on the officer's belt for immediate use” explains the website. It is designed so an officer can remove and apply it to the front of the weapon in “a fluid, one-handed” manner. When the weapon is fired it remains attached and “decreases the velocity of the bullet”. The end result is “serious pain with less internal injury to the body than a conventional bullet”.

 

This solution is being trialed in Ferguson, Missouri and appears to be gaining mixed results. Mayor Knowles told CNN that police officers need to do their “due diligence” in order to make sure “it's properly tested, that it does not put anyone, especially our law enforcement, in any increased danger”. The decision on whether 55 local police officers will carry these will be based on this evaluation.

Ellis told us: “We felt the training went well. The officers we trained were polite, professional and liked the product”. The company is working on running more trials across more states at present. However, Ellis did not divulge where these might be. He also added that “surprisingly” the recent furor over the LA shooting has not generated any increased interest in the solution. 

Overall, Ellis describes the reaction to The Alternative as falling into two camps. “The agencies that have gone through the training understand it. People who have not shot it seem confused and upset about the thought of a device like this. [This is] standard push back on a ground breaking technology. It is being accepted with open arms by the rest of the world.”

“With years of engineering, years of math and physics, and years of testing, anything is possible, even catching a fired bullet,” he concluded.

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