A panhandle town is on the cutting edge of trends in law enforcement, and at the end of the month, will supply its police force a new type of weapon that is commonly known as a pepper gun.
Following nationwide concerns over the use of Tasers by law enforcement, the pepper gun has recently become popular with many police departments. Tulia is the first town in West Texas to outfit their force with these guns.
The pepper gun is now becoming a popular alternative, or supplement to the weapons that can be used by a police officers.
â??I think thereâ??s been a greater concern with the public and law enforcement groups about the safety of Tasers, but we as a department thought it would be best to research other technologies to find the best option that provides the greatest amount of safety for our officers,â?? said Chief Yarbrough of the Tulia Police.
The department believes that the best option for the force is the JPX Cobra 450, a Swiss-made pepper gun that shoots a solution of concentrated cayenne pepper oil at 405mph from two canisters. The cost of the pepper gun is about half the amount of a typical Taser. While few police departments in Texas have purchased these, Phoenix-area cops have had these for years.
Besides using precaution in the wind, the Tulia police department says that while very little training is required for officers who plan on using these weapons, they do make officers taste the substance and put it under their nose so that they understand how powerful the pepper spray is.
â??Because of the way the device is set up, you have a minimum deployment distance to the preferred target area, which is right below your nose or at your nose of 5ft,â?? said Jason Jack of the Tulia Police.â??Anything close than 5ft, you donâ??t deploy to the face.â??
The Tulia police say that another advantage of the pepper gun is that it offers a two shot option versus a one shot with the Taser.