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Use of Pepper Aerosol Restraint Spray (Oleoresin Capsicum or "OC")

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1995
6 pages
The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Institute of Justice conducted an extensive joint study on the employment of oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray as an alternative use of force to restrain violent or otherwise noncooperative subjects.
The use of OC spray has several advantages compared to other chemical sprays such as CN and CS; results of the IACP/NIJ study indicate that it is effective upon humans in confrontational encounters up to 90 percent of the time; its use has led to a decrease in the number of assaults upon officers in confrontational encounters; its use seems to reduce the incidence of injuries to subjects; and its use has reduced the number of use-of-force complaints lodged against police officers. Police officers who carry OC spray should receive training covering the nature and effects of OC spray, familiarization with the type of devices used in the department, conditions under which OC spray may and may not be used, procedures to follow after employing OC spray, and treatment of persons sprayed. This article also discusses the safe use of OC, protective measures and decontamination, reporting requirements, and appropriate officer response to an OC attack by a suspect. 14 notes

Date Published: January 1, 1995