11/16/2018 – TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — More Tulsa police officers are now equipped to de-escalate dangerous situations without having to shoot a gun.
This week, the police department received 50 new PepperBall pistols from the TPD Foundation.
“That’s not only good for the Tulsa Police Department, but that’s good for the citizens we serve,” said Sgt. Shane Tuell. “That’s something that officers want, and the citizens’ demand is that we have something that we can continue to use to de-escalate volatile situations.”
Tuell said when the pepper ball reaches its target, it feels sort of like getting hit by a paintball and immediately contaminates the suspect’s area.
“They can still move around and function, but it will blur their eyes, make it hard to get good breaths, and basically, take the fight out of somebody,” said Tuell.
This allows an officer to arrest someone with no one getting hurt.
“A lot of times when you’re dealing with a suspect, it’s not the officer that decides where the situation goes, it’s the suspect,” said Tuell.
Tuell said these won’t necessarily be replacing guns, because if police know their suspect has a gun, they will not use these pistols.
“If that individual decides to start shooting, we have to think about the lives and safety of those around, our lives. The life of the individual we’re about to take into custody,” said Tuell.
Tuell said officers go through training to hone in on when is the best time to use the new tool.
“They’re making the job we do a lot safer, and the contact with unfortunately the citizens that have to go to jail, it’ll make it safer for them as well,” said Tuell.
The department now has 70 PepperBall pistols total.