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Courtesy photo

Corsicana Police Officer Jarrett Girard displays the department’s new JPX Pepper Spray Delivery System.

As police departments around the country continue to reexamine their methods and policies, Corsicana Police Chief Robert Johnson sat down recently to discuss the department’s new JPX pepper spray delivery system. The city began testing five guns in October of 2020.

He said Pepper spray is a non-lethal option. It’s safer for both the officer and the suspect.

“It’s just as good or better tool than the less lethal options we had previously,” Johnson said. “A professional organization like ours is always looking for ways to improve its practices.”

Johnson said he believes the Corsicana Police Department has done so with this system.

He referred to conductive energy weapons, which provide 50,000 volts to an assailant, but the prongs can become dislodged during a struggle.

“They were good weapons for what was available at the time. There are also risks associated for those who have heart conditions or are under the influence of stimulants,” he said.

Conductive Energy Weapons, commonly known as TASERS, have been identified as contributing factors in deaths. No deaths have been attributed to the pepper spray delivery system.

The pepper spray has a consistency of ketchup which lessens the chances of cross contamination. The spray can be deployed at a distance of 21 feet, Johnson said.

Best practices are to hit the person in the chest, under seven feet. Past the seven-foot mark, the assailant may be hit in the face.

An officer can be certified to use the weapon with an hour’s training.

Each canister has two shots of the spray, and the agent is roughly 500 times hotter than a jalapeno pepper.

“It breaks the person out of their zone, allowing the officer to have distance from a situation and time to secure a scene or an assailant without having to lay down their weapon,” Johnson said.

“The JPX Pepper delivery system takes the fight out of the assailant,” he said.

Suspects are given water to wash themselves; the effects of the spray can incapacitate them for up to 40 minutes.

The weapons have fewer moving parts and are less expensive and cheaper to maintain than other less lethal options available. The Corsicana Police Department now has nine JPX Pepper Spray Delivery System Weapons, which cost $1,020 each. The cost doesn’t include additional canisters.

Johnson stressed the importance of the safety of officers and the public. He also asked for the public’s help in reporting crime.

“It’s difficult in this environment,” he said. “Corsicana is a great area but, like anywhere, it has some issues.”

“When you’re a kid it’s called tattling, as an adult it’s called taking responsibility for our community,” he said. Johnson encouraged anyone who sees anything suspicious to report it to the police.

He also asked that people be aware of their guns, especially in vehicles.

“Take your guns in at night,” he said. “Most of the guns we deal with are stolen he said. Many of these people are taking them out of open trucks.”

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