August 23, 2014 11:33:54 PM
NATCHEZ -- The Adams County Sheriff's Department has a new weapon in its arsenal: pepper spray guns.
Sheriff Chuck Mayfield tells The Natchez Democrat six deputies have been trained as instructors on the JPX Jet Protector pepper spray guns.
Mayfield said the pepper spray is a safer and more predictable alternative to a stun gun.
When fired, he said the pepper spray is immediately effective upon contact with the face of the aggressor.
Stun guns typically fire wires that allow an officer to shock a subject into submission. The pepper guns fire a blast of oleoresin capsicum, more commonly known as pepper spray, which chemically debilitates a suspect.
"The guns have a laser sight, which gives accuracy to the officer and can be a warning to the suspect," Mayfield said. "In our jail, we have only fired the pepper spray a few times. The laser is usually enough to subdue an inmate."
In training, deputies were taught to stand at least seven feet away from a subject when using the pepper spray gun, said sheriff's department spokeswoman Courtney Taylor, and had to taste the spray and put it on their nose to understand its effects.
Mayfield said officers are trained to hit the target in the chest or the back of the shoulders or neck from 5- to 25-feet away.
"The strong pepper solution will immobilize the suspect by effecting their eyes, sinuses and skin, without any harmful after effects," the sheriff said.
Deputies were given the pepper guns earlier this month. They also carry regular pepper spray, handguns and shotguns.