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Review of a Community Acceptance Panel
Leeanne Frazier, Research Attorney

On April 30, 2007, the National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law hosted a community acceptance panel. The community acceptance panel (CAP) was designed to give members of the scientific, law enforcement, legal, and academic communities the opportunity to learn about and comment on recent and controversial issues in emerging less lethal technologies/riot control agents. The topic of this CAP was riot control agents, and it specifically examined the viability of using less lethal chemical calmative agents to control crowds. The CAP was held in Washington DC at the National Institute of Justice, and John Paul Jones of the NIJ acted as moderator of the panel.

The day opened with remarks from David Hagy and John Morgan, Acting Principal Deputy Director and Deputy Director, respectively, from the National Institute of Justice. Sid Heal, Commander at the National Tactical Officers Association for the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department, spoke about the current technology in less lethal riot control agents and how these substances could be used by law enforcement. John Kenny, a senior research engineer for the Applied Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, then reported on findings from a study entitled "The Advantages and Limitations of Calmatives for Use as a Non-Lethal Technique" conducted at Penn State on the pros and cons of calmatives as a less lethal technology.

The afternoon continued the discussion on riot control agents and less lethal calmative drug technologies when David Benjamin, a clinical pharmacologist and toxicologist, considered the legal, medical, and public policy implications of employing chemical calmatives. Next, Marian Daggett, a research attorney for the NCSTL, presented a general overview of the legal and policy issues surrounding less lethal technology agents.

The CAP closed with an open discussion of the ethical ramifications, research direction, and feasibility of implementing riot control agents such as calmative drugs into the law enforcement arsenal. Additional information on less lethal technologies is available on the NCSTL website: http://www.ncstl.org.