LPD Recruits Turn Non-Lethal Force on Themselves - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/8/05

LPD Recruits Turn Non-Lethal Force on Themselves

97% of Lubbock police calls end without the use of force. But, just in case, they must be prepared for the 3% when they do have to use force. NewsChannel 11's goes behind the scenes of the police academy to show how recruits handled their first experience with pepper spray.

Sgt. Robert Hook, an academy instructor says, "Officers need to know that they can continue to function after exposure. Today they learn that."

Lubbock police have two weapons to choose from when using non-lethal force; a taser, or pepper spray. Hook says, "It's another opportunity to end situations peacefully without anybody getting hurt before going to the next level of use of force." Recruit Kody Nesbitt adds, "The last thing you use is lethal force. We are not trying to hurt the public, we are helping them."

Each recruit took a turn getting sprayed in the chest and eyes with the pepper spray. Then, they had to run a short obstacle course, and find first aid. Recruit Olivia Lopez says she was ready for the challenge. "Before I didn't know if I could make it. Now, I know I can do it."

The exercise taught recruits when to use the spray, how to work through the situation, and most importantly, empathy. Nesbitt said, "I can't believe people fight through this, when I open my eyes they feel like instant fire." Recruit Jon Tutino agreed saying, "This was the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life."

Police recruits will also experience the feeling of tasers, another non-lethal use of force weapon. That training will begin in five weeks.

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