MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - The Midland County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) has a new pepper gas gun and they're not afraid to use it. It's similar to pepper spray but 3 times stronger and the effects will put a person down for about an hour.
"We can go into a crowd, somebody is being highly aggressive and fighting, whatever they're doing and they won't stop," said MCSO Sheriff Gary Painter. "We can walk into the crowd and shoot a person with this and it'll take that person and that person only down."
Oftentimes, officers are caught up in the in the stinging after effects of pepper spray, but because the pepper gun doesn't have any aerosol, it doesn't spread through the air and only affects the intended target.
Darron Teeters, Vice President of Sales and Training for JPX America, helps officers through the required 4-6 hour training course before using the pepper spray gun.
"I'm able to deploy twice, drop a cartridge, put up a new one, deploy twice more," said Teeters. "I can hit 4 people well under 3 seconds. So, if my back up is 20 minutes out, I can hold 4 people down for about an hour."
Painter said officers will shoot the pepper spray gun in place of using a taser or pepper spray.
"It's right above the verbal command," said Painter. "If somebody does not listen to what the officer is saying and they're not paying attention to the verbal command they can immediately go to this gas."
The substance has the consistency of an oil, unlike traditional pepper spray, officers are not required to take a direct blast to complete training, but they do have to be exposed to it through their mouth and nose.
Painter hopes using the pepper spray guns cuts down on actual gunfire use, keeping the community and officers safer.
"They're gonna be crying and whining and snot hanging out and all kinds of stuff but it won't affect other people and that is the main thing," said Painter.
For 3 gas guns it costs about $800, Painter said they used money from their donations account. MCSO started using the guns Wednesday.