Police Reserves Are Pepper Sprayed in West Richland
WEST RICHLAND, Wash. - Pepper spray is one of many tools that police officers can use against unruly criminals. Most of the time it burns your eyes and makes you choke when sprayed. For years it has been used by law enforcement to control crowds, animals, and people.
Police Officers in the Tri-Cities usually have access to a can of pepper spray at all times and most have experienced what it feels like to be sprayed.
Monday night five West Richland Reserve Officers met at the Benton County Fire District #4 headquarters located at 2604 Bombing Range Road to learn about the tool, two even volunteered to be sprayed in the eyes.
23-year-old Reserve Ryan Boyce is aspiring to become a police officer. He stood about ten feet from a West Richland Police Officer who sprayed him directly in the face.
Once sprayed, Boyce had to make his way to a near by police car and call dispatch for help. He was then taken to a washroom to get all the spray out of his eyes.
Officers said this experience gives them insight as to what it is like to be on the other end of the nozzle.
Boyce said it felt like 2nd or 3rd degree burns in his eyes. He said he did not expect it to hurt so badly.
Another Reserve, Ian Watson compared it to sticking his head into a pot of boiling hot oil. He too said he did not expect it to be so intense.
West Richland Officer Duane Olsen was the instructor of the class. He was spray while in the police academy. He said it is important for officers to feel the affects of the pepper spray. He compared it to holding a burning match under your eyeball.
West Richland police also carry tasers and they recently had to make sure all their pepper spray was non-flammable to ensure there were no safety concerns if both devices were used on a suspect at once.