Police departments across the nation are being monitored more closely because of police incidents that have gained national television coverage recently. Some believe that if police had more non-lethal tools at their disposal, that fatal encounters with police could reduced.
According to KTBS, the police department in Texarkana, Texas is bringing in a new crime fighting tool for a trial run. This new piece of technology is called a 12 JPX Cobra Pepper-Gun which shoots a pepper spray gel. The department has ordered a dozen and will put them into use within a week.
There is a mix of cayenne pepper and water inside the two chambers of the guns, and they shoot out this pepper spray at around 400 MPH. Officers in the department were asked to smell and taste the pepper solution to get an idea of its potency.
Texarkana, Texas Police Chief Dan Shiner wanted to explore options other than Tasers for dealing with aggressive suspects.
“Tasers themselves are a much higher risk. There’s been deaths related to the use of these and quite a bit of litigation involved,” the chief said.
Officer Pete Mann will be one of the first officers in the department to carry one of these pepper spray guns.
“It gives you an extra tool in some situations where if you didn’t have it, you might have to escalate to a higher level of force,” he feels.
Darron Teeters, Vice President of Sales and Training for JPX America, reports that the pepper-spray gun has been on the market for the past 6 years. He has sold these new models to 600 police departments in the past 2 years.
“The potency of the pepper spray is designed to drop guys on PCP, bath salt, and other hard narcotics. This pepper gun is supposed to be shot to the face. There’s no kinetic impact so it’s not going to damage their face or hurt them. The minimum distance for the safety of the person is five feet,” said Teeters.
Using weapons that are non-lethal such as these can be a good option, but Shiner says that officers know that sometimes they won’t be the best solution.
“Obviously, if we have someone we face that has a knife and is coming right at us or a handgun and shooting at us, it really puts us in a position where we automatically have to go to the use of a firearm,” said Shiner.