It was the purpose of this research to determine how effective the implementationof oleoresin capsicum was on reducing citizen complaints of brutality and injuries to officers within a selected law enforcement agency.
Law enforcement agencies in the past have suffered greatly because of widely publicized cases of excessive force, such as the 1997 beating death of Arthur McDuffie in Miami, Florida and the beating of Rodney King by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. The implementation of pepper spray into the use of force continuum for law enforcement agencies across the country hopefully will provide a less than lethal tool to use when a subject is combative. The ultimate idea is to eliminate the unnecessary use of batons, choke holds, or firearms when subduing a resistive suspect. The anticipated result of using oleoresin capsicum will be a lower probability that a complaint be lodged by suspects or others (Friend, 1995).
Occasionally in the field of police work, a tool or technique will emerge that has a drastic influence on making arrests safer, not just for the officer, but for the arrested suspect as well. Prior to the onset of oleoresin capsicum, police officers complained that
the product known as “mace” issued to them was worthless and ineffective. An officer referencing mace was heard stating, “This stuff just takes up space on my gun belt.” However, the development of the pepper-based oleoresin capsicum for law enforcement use made approaching combative, resistive subjects easier and safer for all those involved. Once officers deploy oleoresin capsicum, they could now safely approach the subject and apply restraint devices to ensure no one receives injuries.
Oleoresin capsicum has been placed at a low level on the law enforcement force continuum and has virtually replaced the use of the baton on combative subjects. This should ultimately result in fewer complaints regarding excessive use of force because the effects of oleoresin capsicum are temporary and the effects of a baton are often times permanent.
The foremost efforts of law enforcement officers are to deter crimes, but when that fails, officers then need every accessible means of safely apprehending and bringing to justice those who disregard the law.
Source : http://dc.etsu.edu/