By Justin Willis, Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Ken.)
Nearly 30 jail deputies from throughout western Kentucky are
concluding a weeklong training segment today in Daviess County that
prepares them to handle emergency situations inside their facilities.
The deputies participated Thursday in the most grueling day of the
course, which is informally coined "hell day" by participants. During
a six-hour block of time the deputies were pepper sprayed, exposed to
different types of tear gas and shot with taser guns, bean-bag guns
and plastic balls filled with pepper powder.
One of the first reactions after being blasted with pepper spray for
the first time is panic, said Daviess County jail Sgt. Ken Ehlschide,
an instructor in the course.
Being exposed to the effects of a variety of crowd control weapons
will give deputies an upper hand in a real scenario and minimize the
panic, Ehlschide said.
The training occurs annually and rotates among locations in western
Kentucky. Deputies will take a written test today, and passing will
allow them to serve on emergency response teams at their home jails.
Facilities from Warren, Boyd, Graves, Logan, Metcalfe, Grayson,
Henderson and Christian counties participated.
A blast of pepper spray to the face feels as though one's eyes are
burning and covered with sand, said Henderson County jail Deputy
Ricky Hammers. The experience with pepper spray was his second, he
"You can't keep your eyes open," Hammers said. "You never get used to that."
During the week, deputies participated in classroom training and
drills at the Masonville Fire department. Segments included training
about entering cells, using explosive distraction devices and
surviving knife attacks. Deputies underwent classroom instruction in
the proper use of force and when it is necessary, said Mike Ethridge,
branch manager for the Division of Correctional Training in
The Daviess County Detention Center has a Special Response Team of 12
people. Daviess County Jailer David Osborne said he was pleased to
have the training offered locally this year.
Use of the team is rare but is a good safeguard to have at the jail
and available for the community if needed, he said.
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"I think it reduces liability for the county and state," Osborne
said. "Most of the time inmates behave when they see them coming."