"Department of Justice (Department) Special Agents, Deputy Marshals, and correctional personnel may use less-lethal weapons when circumstances require use of some force, but use of deadly force would not be appropriate. Use of these weapons can also enhance the safety of law enforcement officers and the public during law enforcement operations. However, while less-lethal weapons are less likely to cause serious injury or death than firearms, significant injuries and fatalities can result from their use. […] The OIG conducted this review to determine the types of less-lethal weapons used by the Department's law enforcement components; the extent to which the components are using these weapons; whether training and controls have been implemented to ensure the weapons are used properly; whether Department components have identified the impact of using these weapons on their missions; and whether the Department assesses, deploys, and oversees new and emerging less-lethal weapon technologies. In addition, the OIG examined research related to less-lethal weapons conducted or funded by the Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ). We also reviewed the Civil Rights Division's investigations of less-lethal weapon usage by Department law enforcement components and state and local law enforcement agencies."
Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, Report Number I-2009-003
United States Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General: http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/