The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the FBI conducted separate studies of in-custody deaths in which OC spray was used to subdue a subject.
Given these observations, if a subject displays drug- or alcohol-induced behavior, officers should be cautious in using OC spray and should consider other tactics for making the arrest.
With these cautions in mind, administrators and trainers should examine the products and procedures they use and develop appropriate policy and instruction to guide officers in the safe use of OC spray.
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Drawing their sidearm, expandable baton, OC spray or handcuffs could not be accomplished in a smooth fashion without looking at the implement in question.
Other necessary fundamentals should include drawing the baton and deploying it in one smooth motion by feel (not looking for it), drawing and deploying OC spray in one smooth motion by feel and both of the above while taking a lateral step.
For example, the ACLU of Northern California has cited studies showing that OC spray
can cause respiratory problems, vomiting, and other health effects.
Messina, who has conducted experiments with pepper spray since 1990, says that OC sprays are effective as a distraction but do not incapacitate the victim.
The most common agent used in OC sprays is isopropyl alcohol, an extremely flammable substance.
After serving as a willing or unwilling participant in about a hundred one-on-one and multi-officer melees involving OC sprays
, I concluded I'd rather rely on a traditional knuckle sandwich or my Deluxe Thump-O-Matic nightstick.
We had previous information from the law enforcement community that the OC sprays
they are buying are not consistent in terms of performance," says Alim Fatah, who spearheads the project from NIST headquarters in Maryland.
It should be noted, however, that according to a bulletin put out by the National Institute of Justice's Technology Assessment Program, OC sprays
with alcohol-based carriers are flammable and should be avoided when flames or sparks are present.