Denham Springs Marshal touts new pepper guns for safety of officers, public

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POSTED: Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 5:00am

UPDATED: Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 5:04am

Law enforcement in Denham Springs is turning up the heat.

Officers are carrying a new type of gun, that they say is low-cost and highly-effective, and it might be a good purchase for you, too.

Marshal Jerry Denton equipped each of his officers with JPX pepper guns. They feature 9mm cartridges that shoot a cayenne-based solution.

"You can be the biggest man in town, but I'm telling you, once it hits your eyes, your body is going to make you shut those eyes," Denton said. "You can't see, you can't fight, you can't shoot."

The mixture is completely natural, and, for the incredibly daring, edible. As a non-lethal weapon, the pepper gun takes the place of a stun-gun, which the Marshal's Office simply could not afford.

"Being a small agency, such as we are, cost is always a factor," Denton stated, "and being able to get these about a third of the cost of a Taser was a tremendous impetus for us to go ahead and do that."

The pepper shoots out at 400 miles an hour, and it's thick enough that it has a one-foot spray pattern from 15 feet away, and a two-foot pattern at the gun's maximum range of 23 feet. That is a big difference compared to a typical can of pepper spray.

"If it was an aerosol and he got a blowback, it also may incapacitate the officer and put him at a tremendous disadvantage," Denton noted.

The mixture is about 100 times stronger than original Tabasco sauce. Denton says the gun is simple to learn, but tough to fire accidentally. Denton bought his guns for roughly $350 apiece, but civilian models cost as little as $250.

"It would be a very handy thing to have, even from a homeowner perspective," he stated.

The officers have only carried them for a few months, and none of them have fired one outside of training. But Denton is already glad they have them.

"These guys, every day, they go knock on a door, they don't know who's going to be behind it or what kind of bad day they may be having," he said. "So I just, to me, a successful day is all my guys going home safe at the end of the day."

Representatives from JPX traveled to Denham Springs to train everyone in the Marshal's office to use the guns. Afterward, two of his officers were certified as trainers. "We can also help other departments if they get it," Denton mentioned. "And I'm more than happy to lend my men out to do that for them at no cost to them."

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