PAULS VALLEY, Okla., (KTEN) — The Pauls Valley Police Department is adding high-power pepper guns for officers as a less-lethal weapon option.

The JPX pepper guns allow for more distance and accuracy than traditional sprays, accurately deploying a pepper gel from five to 23 feet.

“We have long needed a better, less lethal option,” said Assistant Chief Derrick Jolley. “We’ve had OC sprays which work, but you must be up close, contaminating everyone. This has a whole lot less cross-contamination.“

Officers can use the weapon when suspects are not compliant, but deadly force is unnecessary. 

“We have had officers find themselves in situations that didn't meet deadly force, and OC spray wasn't an option for them,” Jolley said. “They've had to fight and fight until other agencies could get there to help.”

A couple of years ago, an officer was injured by a suspect while waiting for other agencies to arrive with a less lethal weapon.

“I had an officer sent out by ambulance with a broken leg over one of those situations,” Jolley recalled. “ I can't say this would have fixed it, but this may have de-escalated that and gotten the guy into custody before he ever injured the officer.”

Officers must be trained and certified before using the new pepper guns. Several officers attended training over the weekend and received their certifications. 

In the coming days, another training session will be held for Pauls Valley officers.