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NYPD Hopes More Potent Pepper Spray Will Lead to Fewer Police Shootings

January 29, 2016  | 

Photo: NYPD
Photo: NYPD

The NYPD hopes a more potent pepper spray will lead to fewer police shootings — but some critics say the upgraded aerosol is a recipe for disaster, reports the New York Daily News.

More than 19,000 officers so far have been given canisters of Sabre 5.0, a spray with a .67% concentration of major capsaicinoids, the chemicals that make peppers hot.

That’s more than three times the .21% concentration in the spray the NYPD has used for years. Both sprays are manufactured by Sabre Security Equipment Corp.

NYPD officials said that as the department works to track and investigate the use of force, it will know how often cops are using the spray, which is considered the preferable alternative to other uses of force from a physical takedown to shooting a gun. The new version has been in use for six weeks.

NYPD guidelines permit the use of pepper spray when it is deemed necessary to bring someone resisting arrest into custody, to subdue an emotionally disturbed person who is resisting, or for self-defense against someone using force.

The .21% version — so weak it usually did not work on dogs, emotionally disturbed people or suspects high on certain drugs — was considered unreliable by many officers.

"A more effective pepper spray can help reduce the amount of force needed to gain control of a suspect or emotionally disturbed person," NYPD Deputy Chief Edward Mullen told the Daily News. "The new pepper spray will still be significantly weaker than what is used by many other police departments around the country."

Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Julie @ 1/30/2016 7:51 AM

I'm a woman who frequently travels alone. I carry Sabre Red. I don't want to kill anyone, but I don't want to be a victim of crime either. In other words, I only carry it for protection. My small tube sprays a fine thin stream of the liquid pepper that shoots at least 15 feet (it seems). It also marks the attacker with a dye. Sabre products are made in the USA, and they have self defense instructional videos at the SabreRed website. I highly recommend these for students, joggers/walkers, women shopping alone, people walking their dogs, and for anyone that may travel alone in any area. You can carry it in your hand inconspicuously. I'm not affiliated with the SabeRed company, but I really believe in the non-lethal Sabre products, and I appreciate all the Sabre safety techniques online. I've never had to use my SabreRed spray, but I try to stay ready just in case. One more tip, I practice switching the lever into "off" and "on" position. I've test sprayed it once.

Jim @ 1/30/2016 8:19 AM

The Fox I carried is 2% of 5.3 million SHU. Someone please tell me how "powerful" or "effective" the Sabre's .67% of ??? SHU really is. .67% of what? The hottest pepper on earth right now is in the 2.5 to 3 million SHU range. (For those that have never heard the term, Scoville Heat Units, SHU, is the scale scientists use to rate how "hot" a substance is. A habanero pepper is about 500,000 SHU.)

Kinz2292 @ 1/30/2016 8:23 AM

Sabre 5.0 is what we carry, but it is also the last thing on the planted that I think about when I'm faced with a potential deadly force situation. Sure it works as a distraction technique on an unarmed combative suspect, but it won't stop a stop someone running up on you and unloading a firearm into your cruiser while you're doing a report, it won't stop the AK47 rounds coming from the upstairs window as you're walking to the front door to take a report. Paper spray is good for its intended purpose, but is is not a replacement for deadly face. Sure, take pepper spray to a gun fight and see how that works out for ya.

[email protected] @ 1/30/2016 8:52 AM

Pepper Spray has saved me several times from being rape. Back in 1990 I was brutally gang rape. Where can I get some police strength pepper spray? Thank you, Candelyn Carpenter

UncleMike @ 1/30/2016 10:32 AM

The answer isn't more pepper spray.
It's fewer violent thugs on the streets.
They need to be in prisons or coffins, either one works.

Trigger @ 2/25/2016 6:30 AM

I am confused what has stronger pepper spray got to do with fewer police shootings? If someone brings a weapon to a police encounter there is only one
reasonable solution.

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