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Why a sticky spray makes a better less-lethal tool

Gain compliance faster and safer with this new CS formula – and recover in minutes with its antidote


Sponsored by Reflex Protect

By Dustin Dodd for Police1 BrandFocus

It is a bittersweet thing to be the supervisor of a team of detectives standing by watching SWAT toss a CS tri-chamber into an apartment. It brings a smirk to your face to see the suspect, who refused to surrender peacefully after trying to stab someone mere hours before, fly out the front door with reckless abandon, crying profusely as snot pours from his face.

Presidia Gel, a CS-based liquid gel, will adhere to your target but won’t clump or spread into the air. It is non-flammable and non-toxic, and thus safe to use indoors. The antidote, Reflex Remove, offers relief within minutes.
Presidia Gel, a CS-based liquid gel, will adhere to your target but won’t clump or spread into the air. It is non-flammable and non-toxic, and thus safe to use indoors. The antidote, Reflex Remove, offers relief within minutes. (Reflex Protect Tactical)

The smirk fades as you shift gears to serve the search warrant, knowing that no amount of time – or industrial fans from the fire department running at full speed – will prevent you from inhaling the tiny, microscopic particles that ignite a raging inferno in your lungs.

Such was my life this past week.

THE EVOLUTION OF CHEMICAL AGENTS

There are few things in law enforcement that will make a cop cringe faster than the mere mention of chemical agents. Both CS and traditional OC spray, while effective, present a multitude of problems for officers which inhibit their use. Because these inflammatory irritants have a long residual duration, their very nature of getting everywhere and on everything has resulted in both becoming less-lethal tools that are rarely used.

The needs of modern policing (and more than a few citizen complaints) have accelerated the evolution of chemical agents. Aerosols have given way to gels to concentrate the agent, increasing the precision of the tool to incapacitate the intended target and not the officers (or civilians) in the vicinity. To achieve this, many gels on the market today have a high viscosity, which presents its own set of thick and sticky issues.

A foamy or clumpy gel sprayed on an individual will limit the areas of effectiveness. Highly viscous, thick gels cling to whatever they impact, including eyewear, clothing and masks – which can be easily discarded. Masses of gel that accumulate on the cheeks or forehead can be easily wiped away and even flung back at the officer.

Enter Reflex Protect with their new Presidia Gel.

PRESIDIA GEL: THE NEXT GENERATION OF CS SPRAY

Presidia Gel is a new formula of CS-based liquid gel with a low viscosity. Deployed in a stream, with a “thickness” closer to that of water, the liquid gel won’t clump or create chunks like many OC gels. When sprayed into the face of a combative subject, it will adhere to your target, and gravity will do the rest. The liquid can run down from the forehead and cover the face, causing instantaneous eye closure and a painful burning sensation in the eyes and mouth. Attempts to wipe it off will only smear and spread the desired effects.

Presidia Gel behaves very differently than the traditional CS gas deployed in the tactical world. As a non-aerosolized, non-atomized agent, the liquid is not inhaled and does not cause inflammation to the throat and lungs the way OC sprays can, making it a safer alternative, even for those with asthma and emphysema. It does not displace oxygen like CS gas and cannot cause asphyxiation.

As a non-flammable substance, it is safe to use alongside widely used electronic less-lethal tools. Presidia Gel is non-toxic, and the agent can be used indoors with precision up to 15 feet away while limiting the contamination of officers, civilians or HVAC systems.

RELIEF IN MINUTES WITH REFLEX REMOVE

Presidia Gel offers something that most chemical agents do not – an antidote. Their silver bullet, Reflex Remove, offers relief in minutes and allows for most people to function within two minutes. Within five minutes, most will only feel minimal effects. Nearly all will recover completely in just 15 minutes.

A quick decontamination and lower chance of cross-contamination not only make this less-lethal tool safer for the public, officers and suspects, these properties are a boon for administrators. Faster decontamination leads to a faster medical clearance and an easier booking experience at the county jail. Additionally, less likely cross-contamination means less downtime for officers to clean up or change uniforms. Both features translate into officers quickly back in service.

WHAT COPS ARE SAYING ABOUT PRESIDIA GEL AND REFLEX REMOVE

Chief Chris Whitted of the Papillion Police Department in Nebraska purchased Presidia Gel and recorded a side-by-side comparison to the OC spray they had been using, and the results were impressive.

So when Reflex Protect agreed to send me a full kit for trial and evaluation, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it (and its antidote).

Presidia Gel worked as advertised, much to my dismay. My eyes were instantly ablaze, and searing pain flowed across my face, but my breathing remained unobstructed. I tried to fight through it, but Presidia Gel had more in the tank than I did.

A colleague sprays the author, detective Dustin Dodd, with Presidia Gel OC spray. (Dustin Dodd)
“My eyes were instantly ablaze,” says Dodd. (Dustin Dodd)
A colleague demonstrates how easy it is to get the subject under control after spraying with Presidia Gel. (Dustin Dodd)
Dodd reports that although his eyes and face were burning, his breathing remained unobstructed. (Dustin Dodd)
The Reflex Remove antidote should be poured or sprayed on the subject’s face. Blot – do not rub or wipe – to achieve relief in minutes. (Dustin Dodd)
Dodd says Reflex Remove helped him return to normal within minutes. (Dustin Dodd)

I was extremely grateful that Reflex Remove lived up to the hype. I felt “normal” in minutes. Our after-action evaluation confirmed that only the intended target (me) was affected. Presidia Gel did not affect the other officers (who were laughing pretty hard) in the vicinity of the test.

With Presidia Gel on your belt and Reflex Remove close at hand, you won’t need to fear the (OC) reaper.

Visit Reflex Protect Tactical for more information.

Read Next: 3 reasons officers need more less-lethal options

About the Author

Dustin Dodd is an active-duty detective supervisor for a municipal police department in the California Bay Area. He was sworn in 2001, and his assignments have included K-9 handler, explosive ordnance disposal, SWAT explosive breacher, driver training instructor, traffic accident reconstruction and computer and cellular phone forensic examiner.

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