While most deputies carry a variety of non-lethal armaments that are designed to elicit compliance or help facilitate an arrest, Del Norte County Sheriff’s deputies will be adding another to their tool belt. If the name 2581 Super Sock doesn’t sound all that intimidating, one should know it’s fired from a 12-gauge shotgun.

Sheriff Erik Apperson said in a release that as law enforcement evolves, officers also need to evolve to better handle critical situations. He said while electroshock Tasers have reduced incidents of lethal force, they are not always the answer.

“Depending on the stature of an individual, the clothing they are wearing, weather conditions, distance and a myriad of other variables, Tasers don’t always bring a violent or dangerous situation to a peaceful ending,” Apperson said. “In fact, the disadvantage with Tasers is that they are only effective within very close distances.”

Tasers can often be the last option an officer may exhaust before they have no choice but to use a handgun or other firearm when dealing with dangerous situations and people. In addition to the handgun, most officers carry “an AR-15 style carbine and a pump-action shotgun” in their cars, he said. However, even though officers are trained to use and maintain the shotgun, it rarely gets used, Apperson said.

“With that in mind, the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office has converted all in-service pump action shotguns to “Less Lethal” weapons that will be loaded with 12 gauge “Super-Sock” bean bag round ammunition,” Apperson said. “This modification will provide deputies with another tool, specifically a medium range less lethal option.”

The Model 2581 Super-Sock is in its deployed state immediately upon exiting the barrel. It does not require a minimum range to “unfold” or “stabilize,” according to the Combined Tactical Systems website.

“The 12 gauge Point Control Impact Munition is Shot Filled Ballistic Fiber with a projectile weight of 40 grams and a velocity rating of 270-290 feet per second,” Apperson said. “It should also be noted that this device is considered less lethal but in some instances can result in serious or fatal injuries.”

Apperson said deputies and correctional officers have been trained in the use of the rounds and have demonstrated proficiency in their use, he said.

“Deputies literally have fractions of a second to make life and death decisions that will be critiqued by any person educated on the topic or not, until the end of time” Apperson said. “These deputies need as many readily available options as humanly possible.”

Apperson acknowledged the sheriff’s Citizen Advisory Committee and staff of the sheriff’s office for their input that ultimately helped contribute to this new option being provided to our DNSO staff.

“As law enforcement officers respond to an increasing level of violent and mentally unstable people, I expect this addition to reduce injuries and save lives,” he said. “I also expect these devices to be used as needed by the deputies and officers that need them, when they need them.”