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Several employees of the LaRue County Detention Center submitted Monday to a painful, eye-watering experience. They took a direct hit in the face with pepper spray.
Afterwards, some stood stoically, waiting for the burn to go away. Others stuck their heads in a bucket of cool water, placed there by course instructors.
Nineteen employees accepted the experience to earn certification to carry pepper spray inside the facility. Sheriff Bobby Shoffner, a certified instructor for the course, is working with the jail to offer the classes for employees. Only those certified can carry the spray.
“They are sprayed so they know how it feels and won’t freely use it,” said Joey Stanton chief administrative officer at the jail.
Once certified, the employee must take an annual written test to keep the pepper spray certification.
The spray will be used to defuse altercations between inmates when violent situations break out in the facility, Stanton said.
“It is more of a tool to use so someone won’t get hurt,” Stanton said.
Although the spray is uncomfortable for the eyes, it will cause less harm than a physical altercation. Some side effects from being sprayed are red face, watering eyes, runny nose and nausea. Allergic reactions are possible. After being sprayed, the person can feel the effects for about 20-30 minutes, but in some cases up to 45 minutes. Mild effects can last throughout the day.
Shoffner plans to teach a firearms course later this month so employees transporting inmates will have working knowledge of a firearm. Stanton said he is excited that the jail and local law enforcement agencies are working together as a team to enhance employee knowledge.
Other training courses that will be given in the future include CPR and first aid and 16 hours of Department of Corrections training.