Stone Co. deputies get new alternative for using deadly force - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Stone Co. deputies get new alternative for using deadly force

The Stone County Sheriff's Department is waiting for two pepper spray guns to arrive in the mail. (Photo source: WLOX) The Stone County Sheriff's Department is waiting for two pepper spray guns to arrive in the mail. (Photo source: WLOX)
STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

While officer involved shootings are dominating news headlines across the country, a South Mississippi law enforcement agency has been looking for ways to hopefully avoid using deadly force. 

For those times when Stone County deputies pull up to a scene where tempers are flaring and safety is a concern, deputies will soon have the option to reach for pepper guns.

The Stone County Sheriff's Department is waiting for two pepper spray guns to arrive in the mail any day now. Deputies have already undergone the training and said it's better than tasers and sprays in how well it subdues suspects without having to cause serious harm. 

"It shoots basically cayenne pepper. It's a more direct hit to the face to where you're not dealing with the over spray to where you can contaminate yourself. The gun comes with a laser on it so wherever you point, that's where it hits," said Cpt. Ray Boggs.

Before deputies can use the pepper guns they had to undergo training, which included finding out what it's like to be on the receiving end. 

"We had to put one dab to our lips here. Another dab across our nose and then we had to take our thumb and taste. It took it about 10 seconds to make me realize just that little bit I don't want it. The decontamination process takes about an hour. But it's nothing compared to what a subject would have to face if they were in a situation where we had to deescalate,” said Boggs.

Officials say unlike the spray, the pepper gun shoots out a concentrated gel that can hit from as far away as 25 feet. Their hope is with this device that deputies, suspects and bystanders are more likely to be unharmed.

"Less than lethal is more of a way to go or have to go out there and use something lethal when you can use this for non-lethal,” Chief Deputy Phyllis Olds said.

"We know now that that can be just as effective. It's non-lethal. Less likely to cause death or bodily injury to anybody other than the person you are trying to get in control of in that situation, rather than the people around them. We don't have to pull our service weapons. We don't have to worry about stray bullets because it's a direct hit to whatever you're pointing at," said Boggs.

Officials said the pepper guns can also be used on animals. For example, a vicious dog. That way a deputy can subdue an animal about to attack before it is close to enough to cause injury.  

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