Westminster City Councilor Bruce Baker asked for the city council to explore a less deadly form of ammunition for the police department. He asked city staff to hold a study session to discuss the …
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Westminster City Councilor Bruce Baker asked for the city council to explore a less deadly form of ammunition for the police department. He asked city staff to hold a study session to discuss the pros and cons of expanding ammunition versus full metal jacket ammunition.
“I think there are very few cases where killing the person is required. I think using full metal jacket ammunition would, in the majority of cases, incapacitate the person without causing catastrophic, possible life-altering damage,” he wrote in an email to City Manager Mark Freitag.
Baker said agencies have reasons to use expanding ammunition and he wanted to learn why.
That led Interim Chief of Police Norm Haubert to prepare a staff report on the item for the Nov. 7 study session. He said using expansion bullets “ensures adequate penetration while limiting over-penetration and minimizing dangers to bystanders or other third parties.”
At the study session, Freitag said the pros and cons were not included since it was an information-only item and the council was not going to take any action on the item.
“I tried to look for other departments in Colorado that don’t use the same kind of ammunition and I couldn’t find any,” said Mayor Pro Tem David DeMott.
DeMott noted the use of expanding bullets is to protect police officers and bystanders on the scene, so the bullet doesn’t exit the body and harm someone else.
Baker said expanding bullets are used for hunting so there is a quicker kill for game.
“Is that the statement we want to make?” he said.
DeMott touched on his experiences in self-defense courses.
“If I have to pull a firearm, I’m at the place where I have to use deadly force. Deadly force is deadly force, it’s an ugly thing,” he said. “I don’t agree with that context.”
Baker said that with decades of use of expanding ammunition, he thought the council should look at whether the use of the ammunition is safer or not. He pointed to cases within the Denver Metro Area where victims of police shootings may have survived if a different type of ammunition was used.
“Full metal jackets are something they use in war when they don’t care what’s behind their target,” DeMott said.
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