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Dallas Police Introduce "Sponge Gun"

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Dallas Police Department will add new weaponry to its crime fighting arsenal, in hopes of decreasing deadly officer involved shootings.

The Launcher is a long barrel gun.

It looks like a weapon that typically fires a tear gas canister.

Instead, the gun fires a rubber like projectile, meant to hurt a person, but not kill them.

"Why we need (the gun)is simple. We want to protect our citizens and safely resolve our issues, and protect our officers as well," said Deputy Chief Jeff Cotner.

The gun is defined as "less lethal."

Officers can fire the Launcher from six to 160 feet away from a suspect.

Designated officers would respond to specific calls involving troubled individuals.

Dallas Police faced several officer-involved shootings in 2014 and 2015.

At least one officer faces criminal charges for the shooting of a citizen.

The "sponge gun" if properly used, should not cause a person's death, according to Dallas Police.

The department could receive 100 sponge guns for use within the next year.

Currently, the department's SWAT operatives have the weapon in their arsenal.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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