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Dangers of Pepper Spray Usage in Law Enforcement…Is there a Better Alternative?

Did you know that tear gas was classified as a chemical weapon in 1993, and in 1997 it was banned from use in international warfare. Yet today, US police continue to use it, legally, against civilians. As recent as 2022, protests surrounding Black Lives Matter, the Jan. 6th insurrection, and city-wide riots all involved OC spray. Unfortunately, not only the guilty were harmed. Innocent bystanders were injured and multiple law enforcement agencies were treated for exposure.

But what really are the dangers of pepper spray to civilians and LE? And more importantly, is there a better solution?

Blow Back

It would be ideal if the person being sprayed was the only one affected by OC. However, the pepper spray used often has a large spray radius that can harm both innocent bystanders and the officer who deploys it. If the area is windy or you are in an enclosed space…. everyone within standing distance will feel the pain.

People With Asthma/ Upper RespiratoryIssues

Law enforcement officers are not immune to respiratory issues. Officers can have asthma, OCPD, and other lung issues just like civilians. An officer or civilian just being in the vicinity of OC can trigger an asthma attack or worse and will require them to be taken to the ER for treatment. Officers lose valuable work time and civilians will have to cover the expense on their own.

Panic Inducing

If you’ve ever seen a crowd sprayed with a canister of tear gas, you know it immediately causes a panic. They begin to thrash around, run into things, and generally amp up the dangers. Panic leads to stampedes, aggression, and often even more damage to property and those people close by. Approaching people in this agitated state amplifies the danger to LE as well.

Water Needed…and Lots of It

Everyone agrees that the best way to stop the pain of OC spray is a lot of water! However, not everyone carries around bottles of water or a water hose. It is reported that it can take up to 30 minutes for the symptoms to begin to subside, but it can take up to an hour depending on exposure and a swift response.

Equipment Compromised

During Jan. 6th, it was reported that several law enforcement personnel had their gas masks ripped off during the struggle. Others had their OC spray taken and used on them. This can easily happen in any riot situation as the scene is often chaotic and if the protestors outnumber the LE, pepper spray canisters can fall into the wrong hands.

Enclosed Spaces Become Dangerous

Imagine an officer sprays a civilian with OC. What is the complete path of that spray? It will stick on the skin of the person and their clothes. When they are placed in a vehicle, the residue can transfer to the interior whether it is a cruiser, SWAT vehicle, or ambulance. If the suspect is tackled by LE, it can transfer to their skin and clothing. Imagine a cell extraction that goes wrong. How long before innocent staff and inmates can begin to breathe freely again?

Also, OC doesn’t just immediately dissipate. Decontamination can take several minutes which can make enclosed spaces unusable.

It often induces vomiting, spitting, and mucous. Body fluids that can contaminate vehicles, clothing, and more. Next time OC is deployed, take a blue light to your vehicle and clothing, and see everywhere it landed!

It Does Not Discriminate

OC doesn’t discriminate. It is equally as hazardous to law enforcement and the general public. Innocent people are often caught up in a riot while walking by, trying to flee the area, or was seeking shelter when pepper spray is deployed. It doesn’t care if it affects a small child, the elderly, or a disabled person. Motives and innocence don’t matter.

Is there a better solution?

Yes, there is, and it’s called Reflex Protect Presidia Gel and Decon.

NEW PROPRIETARY FORMULA The product is NOT pepper spray, but rather a new, target-specific, sticky, and rapid-onset CS formulation. This is not the CS you think you know. Officers who use Presidia Gel® call it a “game changer.” Includes UV Dye as well.

CLEAN UP The fastest-acting decontaminate solution on the market, Reflex Remove®

neutralizes Presidia Gel® and provides relief within 2 minutes. Clean up is easy and fast for both people and surfaces. LE across the country call it “pure gold.”

STICKS TO TARGET Sprays a tight stream of sticky gel up to 15 to 18 feet (depending on size) with zero blow-back. Officers can isolate a subject in a group without affecting anyone nearby. Cannot be removed by subject and thrown back at officers.

NO CONTAMINATION Non-atomizing and doesn’t displace oxygen. Can be safely deployed in crowds, indoors, within cells, and in vehicles. Non-flammable formula, safe to use with Electronic Restraint Devices (ERD).

Learn more on our site and learn how to order today!


Why Reflex Protect Tactical?

We are a safety preparedness company rewriting the rules about what’s possible with less-lethal defense. Reflex Protect® Tactical has taken a fresh look at active defense sprays and created an insanely effective and game changing defense spray and decontaminant that law enforcement is calling “a game changer.”

Our products are the fastest acting on the market and vetted by law enforcement. Certified training is also available.

Contact us today!


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