Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Smaller Toolbox

We've recently lost another tool to use to control the offenders. Again. For a while we were allowed to carry MK-9 pepper spray foggers down in the Adseg unit.

Ok, Ok, I know the picture says "Stream" instead of "Fogger". I couldn't find a good picture of the fogger. Gimme a break!

These things were about four times the size of the cans of pepper spray we normally carry with a big pistol grip handle and a pin like a hand grenade. They were big and bulky and hard to carry so some of us bought drop-leg holsters out of our own pocket to carry them in.

Turns out that that was the right thing to do. The combination of the foggers and the special holsters was intimidating as hell and after one or two of them were used the amount of trouble we had in the house dropped to almost nil.

With our regular pepper spray cans, you have to aim and hopefully strike the offender in the face. In the heat of the moment, that can be a little difficult. Specially if you are aiming through the chuck hole in a cell door. The chance of hitting anything that would make the offender stop whatever it was he was doing was small.

But the foggers! Now that's a different story. One short burst and the whole cell (and most of the wing) was filled with stinging fog that got all over everything. There was no getting away from it. Not so good for staff in the getting pepper spray on you department, but it was a small price to pay. Heck, I've been hit by the stuff so much it doesn't bother me all that much anymore. I know it's coming and can work through it. Plus my glasses tend to keep most of it out of my eyes. Plus, when you had to go up and do the paperwork, you still had pepper spray on you and it drove the Lieutenants and the Captains crazy so they got your paperwork done and got you out of there early. Bonus!


There's always a but.

Someone somewhere (maybe in this state, but maybe not) was accused of mishandling the foggers, therefore the Director, in his wisom, pulled them from all the institutions in the state. So even though we weren't misusing them and they were working and the number of incidents we were having were reduced, they were taken away from us. And no telling when, if ever, we will get them back.

We had long-time trouble offenders stop and lay down and behave themselves when we got the foggers. Now that they are gone, so is the threat and we are starting to have the same trouble all over again.

Yet now we don't have that tool to pull out of our box and use anymore.

They give the offenders more. They give us less.

Pretty soon we'll have nothing.

And that's scary.


  1. in my industry, we have OSHA who is in charge of everything safety.

    i am convinced the rules are made for the lowest common denominator.

  2. Like the old addage goes, I've done so much for so little for so long, pretty soon I'll be able to do everything with nothing.

  3. Maybe I've said this before, I dunno, but does it seem like we (the CO'S) are held accountable for everyone elses actions and ultimately pay the price? Let's try something different, let everybody be responsible for their own actions. When we use force on an offender after being assaulted, we're usually looked at by our superiors as if it could have been prevented somehow. Its very tiresome. And now they take away a useful tool that prevents multitudes of uses of force because of or two misuses. Hold them responsible, but don't punish the rest of us, for crying out loud.

  4. g- I'm sure OSHA knows we're there but if an inspector ever actually saw what we do for a living, he'd never come back again. We have internal safety people that make reports to OSHA. I'll bet those are neatly filtered. And most of the rules are made for the inmates benefit, not ours.

    Vinnie- I've said the exact same thing here, myself. Next thing they'll take away the toolbox, too.

    BA- Yer preachin' to the choir, brudda!