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July 07, 2004
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Officers Injured In Unusual Pepper Spray Training Exercise

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Four Metro Corrections officers were injured after taking part in an unusual training exercise recently.

Last week, the officers were sprayed in the face with pepper spray being tested by the Corrections Department, and had to be hospitalized, WLKY NewsChannel 32''s Abby Miller reported Tuesday.

The spray tore a hole in one officer''s esophagus, and opened holes in each of another officer''s lungs. The spray was touted to be more powerful than what the officers currently use, and the department confirmed that the hard way.

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Metro Corrections Capt. Brett O''Loughlin said a typical spray is used to get would-be criminals to stop fighting with officers or resisting arrest, Miller reported.

"It makes your eyes slam shut," he said. "You can''t open your eyes. To me, it''s just completely debilitating. I didn''t react well to it at all."

But O''Loughlin said the effects were much worse when they tested the new spray at the Southfield Training Academy on June 28.

"Every time someone was sprayed, it was an immediate pain response," O''Loughlin said. "They were not willing to fight. They did not want to resist. All they wanted to do was get to the water."

Deputy Corrections Director Joe Payne said the company that makes the spray asked him to try the new product, and warned that it might be more potent than what the department currently uses, Miller reported.

"Almost all of our pepper-spray applications come on a one-on-one basis, the same as we used in training," he said. "So therefore, I don''t think it was a bad batch. I just think it was a little bit more powerful stuff, and we''ve decided we''re not going to use that."

Payne added that the company said the injuries had never happened before.



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