Crowd-control Weapons Explained in Phoenix
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  • Jimmy at
  • September 05, 2017

Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Howard said officers used progressively more aggressive weapons for crowd control. First came smoke, then balls of pepper spray, then stun grenades or "flash bangs," then pepper spray, and then stronger tear gas chemistry materials.


How do they all work?


The Arizona Republic spoke with Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Lt. Chris Jeffreys, an expert on non-lethal weapons, to get a rundown on each device and discuss chemical raw materials how and when they are used.


Pepper ball


Description: Small, round plastic balls filled with OC (oleoresin capsicum) powder. It's an active ingredient in hot peppers, Jeffrey said. Typically deployed using a paintball-style gun that can rapid-fire balls in various sizes that explode upon impact, releasing powder.


When it's most useful: When people get actively aggressive and demonstrate violence potential. Jeffreys said officers are trained never to deploy pepper balls on nonviolent, passive crowds, chemical raw materials suppliers.


Effect: Tearing, stinging eyes; a runny nose; coughing; difficulty breathing; and burning skin sensation where hit. Effects last about 20 to 30 minutes.


Appeal: Unlike other devices using chemical agents, pepper balls allow the user to directly focus the weapon at a specific person or group from a distance.


Downfalls: The chemical trading lingers in an area for a while and potentially can extend exposure to other people nearby. Officers are trained to aim them for "center mass" and to avoid vulnerable body parts, Jeffreys said.


Pepper spray


Description: A canister of OC agent that typically comes out in spray form when a nozzle on top is pressed. Canisters also come with the agent in stream or foam form. It's typically found on every officer's belt, Jeffreys said.


When it's most useful: When a crowd and officers are in close range and officers need crowds to move back or retreat. Typically shoots a distance of 8 to 10 feet.


Effect: Tearing, stinging eyes; a runny nose; coughing; difficulty breathing; and a burning skin sensation where hit. Effects last about 20 to 30 minutes.


Appeal: Pepper spray can be deployed in “spurts” of seconds, based on how long the nozzle is held. It offers great control on who is targeted and can move individuals and crowds along quickly.


Downfalls: Usually has to be sprayed in proximity to target, causing blowback on officers. "We're going to get spray, too, always," Jeffreys said. Wind can carry spray for a distance and affect those nearby chemical shop.




Description: Hand-size grenade most commonly filled with CS gas, also known as "tear gas." It has a blue top for easier identification and is colored differently than the smoke canister, Jeffreys said. It is deployed by pulling a pin and releasing the handle. It, too, makes the sound of a lid coming off a jar when it "pops." Releases a white gas cloud into the air.


When it's most useful: When officers need to really secure an area and make it safe. If people are starting to get injured or actively aggressive toward each other, "we need them to move fast," Jeffrey said. Gas ensures people will leave, he said.


Effect: Severe eye irritation; temporary blindness; sneezing; tearing; runny nose; coughing; difficulty breathing; and a burning skin sensation where hit and where there is moisture such as sweat. More intense than pepper spray on the respiratory system, causing "anything in your nose to come out," Jeffreys said. Effect lasts up to 30 minutes.


Appeal: Doesn't typically create lasting physical problems. Can move a crowd without using physical force.


Downfalls: A large gas cloud can affect many people. Officers must use tear gas masks when deploying, which can limit their mobility, breathing and vision.


Pepper spray_oc agent_cs gas_tear gas_tear gas mask


U.S. Manufacturing Heats up in August


WASHINGTON — U.S. factories expanded at a brisk pace in August, a likely sign of strength for the U.S. economy as new orders, production and employment all improved.


The Institute for Supply Management said Friday that its manufacturing index rose to 58.8 percent last month from 56.3 percent in July. Anything above 50 signals that factory activity is increasing.


The measure now stands at its highest level since April 2011, pointing to solid economic growth.


Fourteen of 18 manufacturing industries surveyed by ISM posted growth in August, including the machinery, petroleum and coal products, and computer and electronic products sectors.


August was “a really strong month,” Timothy Fiore, chair of ISM’s manufacturing business survey committee, said in a telephone interview. He noted that the growth was mostly driven by the top manufacturing sectors.


It’s early to predict the impact on the oil, gas and chemical industries and on the broader economy of Hurricane Harvey. But Fiore said a snap survey of ISM members showed there likely will be a significant hit to the petroleum and chemical products sectors and “lots of supply chain disruptions.”


Refining capacity, chemical raw materials and the ability to deliver products all have been drastically affected by the storm that lashed Houston and nearby areas and shut down oil refineries, plastics plants and the Houston port — the second-busiest in the nation. There have been widespread reports of gasoline shortages.


The chemical products sector is one of the six biggest manufacturing industries, accounting for 17 percent of total activity, Fiore noted. Petroleum and coal, also among the “Big Six,” account for 7 percent. Texas represents more than 10 percent of U.S. manufacturing production. Chemical products refining in the state accounts for 20 percent of the U.S. total, and oil and gas represents 30 percent.


U.S. factories have largely recovered from a slump in late 2015 and early 2016 caused by cutbacks in the energy industry and a strong dollar, which makes U.S. goods more expensive in foreign markets. Manufacturing employment began a sustained turnaround in December and enjoyed four additional months of job gains, only to have factories shed 1,000 workers in May.


New government data issued Friday showed that manufacturing was one of the leading sources of U.S. job growth in August, adding 36,000.


For August, the manufacturing production component of the ISM index rose 0.4 point to a reading of 61 in August. Employment climbed 4.7 points to 59.9 percent. The component of prices for raw materials was unchanged at 62 percent.