For six weeks now, a more potent form of pepper spray has been in use by the NYPD – and some are now questioning whether it’s really necessary.
Officials with the NYPD say using this upgraded version will help officers avoid having to pull out a handgun. The spray, they say, is considered the “preferable alternative to other uses of force from a physical takedown to shooting a gun.”
People who have been on the receiving end of a pepper spray blast, have reported experiencing a “burning, painful sensation in the eyes.. for hours.” That was even with the weaker version of the spray. The newer spray– being carried in a Sabre 5.0 canister — is more than three times more potent.
Many may be surprised to learn that there are even stronger concentrations on the market, currently being used by other departments around the country – including Suffolk County PD right on Long island and Boston PD.
The NY Daily News reports that more than 19,000 cops so far have been given the upgraded spray which has a .67% concentration of major capsaicinoids — the chemicals that make peppers hot. Apparently the weaker version did not work on dogs, emotionally disturbed people or suspects high on certain drugs.
The more potent pepper spray will coincide with increased rollout of Tasers giving officers more discretion in the use of force.