The Pct. 2 Wood County Constable’s Office is hoping to save lives with the use of a new firearm and special ammo and free survival training to local law enforcement.
The gun looks a little like a “toy gun,” featuring blue features. But the “Less Than Lethal” shotguns the Constable’s Office uses are the real deal.
On each shift, instead of the normal, lethal shotgun, they are now carrying the “Less Than Lethal” shotguns and less lethal ammo rounds that are filled with hard rubber balls and bean bag-style rounds.
“Very, very painful. It’s not going to feel good at all,” said Constable Kelly Smith. “It’s going to make you want to quit what you’re doing.”
The rounds are clear and labeled so we can see what is inside before the weapon is loaded. The guns are also labeled and colored a certain way so when the guns are fired there is zero confusion. We also do not carry lethal shotgun shells in the vehicle so there can be zero confusion. We utilize patrol rifles as a primary weapon, for accuracy.
Unlike tasers, which carry an average maximum distance of 25 feet, the new guns can be used up to 25 yards away. Smith is a “Less Than Lethal” deployment instructor and a diversion device (flash bang) instructor. These tools assist in dispersing large crowds inciting violence, such as ones that have been encountered over the past couple of months, to minimize injury to citizens and officers.
Smith said the “Less Than Lethal” guns are to be utilized in situations where intermediate weapons like batons would be justified, if practical.
“There may be bruises, he could get a broken bone, but that’s better than being shot,” Smith said of a person hit by a “Less Than Lethal” round.
The Constable’s Office believes it is one more tool that helps them protect and serve.
“This gives us an opportunity to not only safely go home at night but also gives us the opportunity to take the guy into the custody with the least amount of injury so we can get them help they need,” said Smith. “I will continually serve all of the citizens of Wood County and use the thousands of hours of training to stand beside our law enforcement leaders to keep them safe.”
Smith is also offering free survival tactics training to all law enforcement officers in Wood County. Smith and Deputy Hammond are both certified in Gracie Survival Tactics, which is the application of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for law enforcement. Smith has been training Wood County officers since 2000 and continues to have a passion for them going home to their families.
Smith was able to obtain grant funding for this year’s recertification for Hammond and himself through ETCOG. Both Smith and Hammond continue to teach with Chief Cole at the East Texas Police Academy Classes in Quitman and across East Texas.
“The training we provide is taught at professional departments around the world. I have been bringing this training home to Wood County for many years and continue to receive positive feedback on its results. We have officers attending from around the state, other counties and East Texas. It always a pleasure to get on the mats with our local heroes,” said Smith. “As a TCOLE board member at the Kilgore College Police Academy, the importance of this training is critical and a gratitude of thanks goes to Beverly Brooks for providing grant opportunities to our local officers through the East Texas Council of Governments.”
The class is limited to law enforcement, law enforcement recruits, jailers, and correction officers. Follow Constable Kelly Smith’s Facebook page or Instagram for training event times and details.