‘Nerf War’ in Eden Prairie raises safety concerns from police

Police in Eden Prairie are advising participants in a “Nerf War” to be a little more cautious while having fun.

On Thursday, the Eden Prairie Police Department (EPPD) sent a press release addressing a recent uptick in calls involving Eden Prairie High School students playing a game with Nerf guns. Called a “Nerf War” by police, the game – which is not sponsored or endorsed by the high school- involves a number of players forming teams and shooting each other with the popular toy in an attempt to be the last team standing.

While EPPD said the game may seem harmless, it can become dangerous when players “make reckless choices.” Police say in the last three days, they have received 11 calls about some participants’ behavior, including blocking parking lots, impeding traffic and reckless driving. In the past, this kind of behavior, according to officers, has led to injuries, criminal charges and even death.

“In 2015, two teenage boys died in a car crash in Lakeville while playing the game,” EPPD said in the press release. “The following year in New Hope, students playing Nerf Wars caused a crash that injured two innocent bystanders. The students were involved in a high-speed chase when one driver crashed into the bystander’s car and forced it off the road into a telephone pole. The second teen car fled the scene. Authorities charged the 17-year-old driver of the car with two felony counts of criminal vehicular operation.”

Police are asking participants to not play the game in – or near – a moving vehicle. They also ask players to use brightly colored Nerf toys that are obviously not firearms, to use respect and caution when in public spaces and neighborhoods and to put down the Nerf toy should they encounter police and follow the officer’s instructions.