The Saginaw City Council voted Monday night to approve funding for the purchase of three "bean bag" guns.
Officials say the purchase was partially in response to the Milton Hall shooting, a homeless man who was shot and killed by Saginaw police July 1. Police say Hall refused to put down a knife that he waved at officers.
In an investigative report issued in September, the city was scrutinized by prosecutor Mike Thomas for not having access to "non-lethal" equipment, like bean bag guns, at the time of the Hall shooting.
The bean bag guns will have two functions. The first is to stun a suspect, by hitting them in non-lethal areas such as the chest.
The guns will also be equipped with tear gas as well.
Unlike stun guns, officers can have a much longer distance between them and a suspect, about 75 feet, when they fire it.
On the county level, Sgt. Mark Przybylski of the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department said his agency recently purchased several bean bag guns in order to improve its inventory of non-lethal equipment.
Przybylski said that bean bag guns allow officers to use non-lethal tactics at much greater distances than traditional items such as stun guns and batons.
According to Saginaw's City Council Agenda, the city plans to purchase three bean bag launchers for $5,052.
Assistant City Manager Phil Ludos says the order for the guns will be placed this week.
Officers will go through training and the non-lethal weapons could be available for use by the end of the year.
The shotgun-style weapons will be placed in supervisors' vehicles.
The Saginaw Police Department was not available for comment about the purchase of bean bag guns.
Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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Friday, August 29 2014 10:05 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:05:45 GMT
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