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Police Officers As Spidermen

Police may soon be catching criminals with something straight out of the comic books: a net.

Called Webshot, it fires a Kevlar-coated net at the suspects trapping them until police can make an arrest.

CBS News This Morning spoke with Foster-Miller Inc. spokesman Tom Matozel and Officer Ed Pomponio of the Milford, Mass., Police Department, where the device is currently in use.


Webshot is a shotgun-like mechanism that fires a net at about 65 mph, wrapping up the suspect within a 7-foot to 30-foot range in a very restrictive way.

With police departments around the country now facing lawsuits and plenty of bad public relations, Webshot may enable officers be safe and use less than deadly force.

"If [the suspect] has a stick or a weapon or a screwdriver or other weapons,Â…I might use deadly force but I can escalate down to less lethal," explains Pomponio.

The training to use this device is minimal. "It piggybacks [on] most of the training that an officer already gets. With a four-hour class, he can be certified in it," notes Pomponio.

The development of Webshot started back in the early 1990s, explains Matozel.

Its design did not meet military specifications because its 7-foot to 30-foot range is too small, but the response has been very positive among police departments, Matozel notes.

So far at least 20 cities are testing the device. It is sold to law enforcement, correctional and military personnel only.

"Currently [the] Milford Police Department is the first department in the country to actually field the device and arm their officers with [it]," Matozel says.

The product, made by Foster-Miller Inc., costs $55 for 37-millimeter six-shot munitions; a single-shot version costs $95; and the net runs $50.

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