Less Lethal Reception at Front Desk

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 1:52 p.m. March 15, 2019

A less lethal shotgun was successfully used to make a mental health apprehension when a man entered 43 Division on March 13 and pulled out a knife.

An orange shotgun held by a TPS officer
A less lethal shotgun that fires sock rounds designed to inflict pain but not penetrate the skin

Const. Brenda Fegan was at the front desk when the man entered the east end police station just before 1 p.m.

“I saw him come in and he seemed agitated,” she said. “He came to the front counter, rapped on it loudly a few times and that really caught my attention. He took off his jacket threw it on the bench and I began to realize this is not good.”

Instead, he pulled out a knife and brandished it.

“At that point, I yelled that there is a gentleman with a knife at the front desk and he’s threatening to hurt himself,” she said. “I also put it over the radio.”

Const. Damien Kachur was in a scout car at the back of the station having lunch when he heard the call.

“I came around to the front of the building and two other officers opened the front door for me to get inside and engage the man with the less lethal shotgun,” he recalled.

A single sock round struck the male on the arm, dropping the knife from his grip. 

He was apprehended under the Mental Health Act and taken to hospital.

A plastic shotgun round held in a hand
A sock round used in less lethal shotguns deploys a bean bag that is designed to disable the subject momentarily without penetrating the skin

This is the second time that Kachur has successfully deployed less lethal force.

“It’s a great alternative,” he said. “It works for me very well and I am a big fan of it. It gives us things we need like distance and time and it allows you to back off a little bit and assess the situation. With a Taser, you have to be a little bit closer. It is nice to have that distance. If that distance closes, you can engage with the Taser.”

Last November, Kachur used the less lethal shotgun in a stolen vehicle investigation.

“I was able to break the car window and when the driver attempted to put the car in gear, I engaged him,” he said. “That took the fight out of him and we were able to subdue him.”

A/Supt. Keith Smith said the incident at the 43 Division front desk serves as a reminder to all units, officers and even the public that danger can show up anywhere, at any time.

“In this case, it was the front desk of a police station,” said the unit commander. “Of course, there is a response from inside the station who were quick to radio it out and that allows the Priority Response officers to respond to the station. We had an officer trained and equipped with the less lethal as well as a CEW (Taser) who was on the scene in less than a minute.

“The officers worked well together in responding from the road and the male, who had minor self-inflicted injuries from the knife, was apprehended and taken to get the help he needs.”

TPS crest watermark